The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

A Novel

Book - 2009
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While readying her grandmother's abandoned home for sale, Connie Goodwin discovers an ancient key in a seventeenth-century Bible with a scrap of parchment bearing the name Deliverance Dane. In her quest to discover who this woman was and seeking a rare artifact--a physick book--Connie begins to feel haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials and fears that she may be more tied to Salem's past than she could have imagined.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, 2009.
ISBN: 9781401340902
Characteristics: 371 p. ;,25 cm.


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Nov 19, 2019

This book was a real treat to read. I have always been interested in witchcraft and in its social and economic implications, so when I read that this novel was in part about the Salem witch trials, I immediately placed a hold. The narration alternates between 1992 and 1692 and the story gets more and more intriguing. Connie Goodwin is a grad students who needs an original source for her dissertation and she unexpectedly finds it when she starts taking care of her grandmother's abandoned house. The house itself is a character in the story, with its furniture, its garden, its secrets. The book of the title, who once belonged to a wise woman in Puritan New England, is object of a strenuous search not only on Connie's side. The end is ... magic, yes, and rewarding for its inherent justice. I am now in line for the sequel, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs, a descendant of Deliverance Dane, of course. Katherine Howe, herself a descendant of one of the Salem "witches", writes beautifully, bringing her characters to life and giving us descriptions so accurate that we really believe we are in the story with Connie. It is also obvious that she put a lot of research in this book and that every detail is accurate. Happy reading!

STPL_JessH Sep 19, 2019

I really enjoyed reading this book the first time I heard about it and am having just as much fun rereading! I'm getting back in the witchy mood in time for Howe's new book called The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs.

The Physick book is the perfect mix of history, magic, and drama. Surprises await around many corners and the story kept me wanting more.

Apr 29, 2019

I loved this book! I read it when it came out and came back to it 10 years later. I enjoyed it the second time just as much as the first.

Feb 21, 2019

This book was recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad she did. It is a book that I constantly come back to as a recommendation for people or a comparison of a good book.

Oct 07, 2015

An ok read. I found it a bit predictable but it was still better than anything on TV that night!

creampuffgranny Aug 19, 2015

Would make a great movie.
Really enjoyed reading this book.

Lynn0321 Jan 03, 2015

One of my favorite books. I have read it more than a few times. The characters are relateable and I loved how believable and interesting the history is. Highly recommend.

Jun 13, 2014

It's hard to believe that The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a debut novel. Katherine Howe weaves multiple narratives together, creating an engaging story of colonial 1690's life as well as early 1990's academic life in New England. This story is part magical realism, part historical fiction, part mystery, part family dynamics and part love story. But it's all awesome.

I lovedy love when a historian can write well, and bring their era of passion to life. Howe not only created an interesting, believable, and intriguing tale- she inspired me to learn more about life in Salem, MA at the time of the witch trials.

I highly recommend this one for fans of historical fiction, wonderfully bookish female protagonists, graduate students (especially of American history), witchcraft, New England, and religion. It's refreshing, engaging, and made me pick up Howe's second book as soon as I put this one down.

Mar 21, 2014

This book starts out a bit slow but becomes more compelling with each passing page. The story alternates between the present day Boston/Salem area and the Salem Mass. witch trials of the 1640's. Deliverance Dane is a woman put on trial for being a witch in 1640's Salem Mass.
Connie Goodwin is a present day woman working on her doctoral dissertation while trying to prepare her mother's house for sale.

Each time the story switches to the past, the time setting has advanced forward several years, occasionally decades. So after Deliverance we read about her daughter, then grandaughter and so on.

I found the author's portrayal of the accused witches of the 1640's very believable and easy to understand how the people's fear of the un known fueled their strident pursuit of the so-called "witches".

Taken as a whole the story is satisfying and it has a happy ending. I read some of the reviews that said the ending was cartoonish. There was nothing about the ending that was or even hinted at being cartoonish for me. I found it to be a very satisfying conclusion to the story.

The only drawback was that I found some of the narrative of the past events to be a bit tedious but it wasn't excessive and overall didn't detract from the story.

Mar 16, 2013

1. After the first few chapters, the protagonist became limp and silly. Howe seemed to be describing more of a teenager than an independent adult, which threw me a little. 2. Plus, the romance between Sam and Connie is not at all compelling. 3. In many spots, the dialogue was repetitive and weak. 4. The book is VERY long and several details could have been left out to make it more concise and appealing. 5. The best part about the book was when it flashed back in time to Salem and the witch trials (Howe could have written an entire narative on the Trials themselves! I hoped there would be more of the Trials than the present day in the novel and was sadly disappointed). 6. The novel resolved in a hurry, as if Howe knew that it was getting far too long or she just got bored with the plot line. 7. Very good vocabulary. 8. Lots of interesting details were dropped (I hoped Howe would link the doll from the bookcase to the poppet in "The Crucible" somehow and that Connie would find out that she and Deliverance are related). 9. The inclusion of actual magic made the book a whole lot less compelling. The fact that history itself whispers that there could have been more sinister forces at work in Salem is interesting enough.
10. I thought Katherine Howe's relationship to Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe was very compelling and gave the book a tad more interest.
In conclusion: The book is the kind that you read when you have a lot of time to kill. It's the kind where you don't care if the storyline is pointless and fluffy. If you're looking for good Witch Trials fiction, try Aruthur Miller's "The Crucible". Both the play text and the movie are extremely good :)

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