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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

by

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane Cover

 

Staff Pick

Connie moves into her grandmother's house to ready it for sale.  She stumbles upon an ancient key with a tiny piece of paper rolled up inside that which reads: "Deliverance Dane."  The search for the meaning of this phrase leads Connie to witches, hangings, a bit of romance, a little supernatural phenomenon, and an elusive spell book.  Katherine Howe is an art historian and her own ancestors include Elizabeth Howe and Elizabeth Proctor, both of whom were tried in the Salem witch trials. Howe uses her own family stories here in this suspenseful read.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Connie Goodwin should be spending her summer doing research for her Ph.D. dissertation in American History. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she's compelled to help. It's not long before the time she's set aside for research is instead spent sorting through her grandmother's ancient possessions, discovering a woman she barely knew.

One day, while exploring the dusty bookshelves in the study, Connie discovers a key hidden within an old bible. And within the key is a brittle slip of paper with two words written on it: Deliverance Dane. Along with a handsome steeplejack named Sam, Connie begins to dig into the town's records, looking for references to Deliverance Dane. But even as the pieces begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the witch trials so long ago, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past than she could have ever imagined.

Written by an author completing a Ph.D. in New England Studies, and whose ancestors were accused witches in Salem, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery and discovery.

Review:

"Set in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass., Howe's propulsive if derivative novel alternates between the 1991 story of college student Connie Goodwin and a group of 17th-century outcasts. After moving into her grandmother's crumbling house to get it in shape for sale, Connie comes across a small key and piece of paper reading only 'Deliverance Dane.' The Salem witch trials, contemporary Wicca and women's roles in early American history figure prominently as Connie does her academic detective work. What follows is a breezy read in which Connie must uncover the mystery of a shadowy book written by the enigmatic Deliverance Dane. During Connie's investigation, she relies on a handsome steeplejack for romance and her mother and an expert on American colonial history for clues and support. While the twisty plot and Howe's habit of ending chapters with cliffhangers are straight out of the thriller playbook, the writing is solid overall, and Howe's depiction of early American life and the witch trials should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Heretic's Daughter. The witchcraft angle and frenetic pacing beg for a screen adaptation. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

This charming novel is both a tale of New England grad-student life in 1991 and the Salem witch hunts in 1692. The year 1991 is important here because historical data were not yet entirely computerized; if you were a university researcher, your destiny was to spend the Lord's amount of hours hunched over card catalogues to find volumes you needed in the library. It took forever and ruined your posture... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"If you need some magic in your life...lose yourself in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane." Real Simple

Review:

"Howe's spellbinding, vividly detailed, witty, and astutely plotted debut is...a keen and magical historical mystery laced with romance and sly digs at society's persistent underestimation of women." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"A fresh present-day story infused with an original take on popular history....here are witches that could well be walking among us today. ...flows with poetic charm and eloquence....Katherine Howe's talent is spellbinding." Matthew Pearl, author of The Poe Shadow and The Dante Club

Review:

"Howe inserts short interludes featuring Deliverance and her descendants, adding depth to the story. Howe's own connection to Salem (two of her ancestors were accused of witchcraft) adds a welcome personal touch." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Written by an author completing a Ph.D. in New England Studies, and whose ancestors had been accused witches in Salem, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery and discovery.

Synopsis:

A crime lost to time. A secret buried deep. One book unlocks an unimaginable truth.

Salem, Massachusetts, 1681. Fear and suspicion lead a small town to unspeakable acts. Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1991. A young woman is about to discover that she is tied to Salem in ways she never imagined.

Synopsis:

"A fresh present-day story infused with an original take on popular history. Forget broomsticks and pointy hats; here are witches that could well be walking among us today. This debut novel flows with poetic charm and eloquence that achieves high literary merit while concocting a gripping supernatural puzzler. Katherine Howe's talent is spellbinding."

--Matthew Pearl, author of The Poe Shadow and The Dante Club

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history-the Salem witch trials.

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest--to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

About the Author

Katherine Howe is completing a Ph.D. in American and New England Studies from Boston University. The idea for this novel developed while she was studying for her Ph.D. exams, walking her dog through the woods between Marblehead and Salem. She lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with her husband.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

moiraethefatesbookreview, May 6, 2012 (view all comments by moiraethefatesbookreview)
* Hardcover: 384 pages
* Publisher: Voice (June 9, 2009)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1401340903
* Author: Katherine Howe
* Cover art: I like the old timey feel.
* Over all rating: *** out of 5 stars
* Obtained: Borrowed from a friend




The Physick book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Reviewed by Moirae the fates book reviews


Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest�"to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past than she could have ever imagined.(Synopsis provided by goodreads)


After reading the synopsis of this book I wanted to read it. The story line it's self was good, but for me the writing style fell flat. There were times when it was incredibly slow. I found Liz to be obnoxious. I thought that Grace was the most interesting character in the book. Connie bugged me at times, like really bugged me. I had a lot of issues with this one. Mainly in the writing style and in Connie herself. However, I liked the story itself.


The whole premise and idea was original. I like anything having to do with the Salem Witch Trials. Howe's description of the house was really good. I felt like I was there. I just wish the book was about 100 pages shorter then it was and Connie was more mature and Liz wasn't even in the book.


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
techeditor, February 18, 2012 (view all comments by techeditor)
THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE by Katherine Howe is an interesting take on the innocence of the women hanged as a result of the Salem Witch Trials. History has shown that they were all victims of others’ hysteria. But what if one of the accused really was a “cunning woman”? That is the supposition of this book.

It’s 1991. Connie is a Harvard student working on her doctoral dissertation. At the same time, she’s living in the very old home left by her grandmother, supposedly getting it ready for sale. The home is near Salem, Massachusetts.

Connie finds “Deliverance Dane” written on a piece of paper inside a key inside a very old bible in the house. Her curiosity about the name leads to her investigation, which leads to the subject of her dissertation: a “recipe” book used by Deliverance Dane to cure the ailments of local people and animals. Connie needs to find that book.

When she hits a wall and she thinks she can trace it no further, her advisor, a professor at Harvard, becomes furious with her. He seems to be taking Connie’s investigation personally. Why? What does he have invested in this?

When this story deals with historical events, even those that are fiction, it’s enjoyable. Sometimes this is Connie’s research that so concerns her advisor. But sometimes we flash back to the 1600s and 1700s so that we see Deliverance’s book change ownership. In this way, we’re always a step ahead of Connie’s investigation.

This story also has magic, but it’s not as annoying as you might think. Even though it doesn’t seem at first to add to the story line and even if the magic does seem silly at times, it’s not just padding.

But other parts of the story did irritate me, especially Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned old home with no heat or electricity. It’s just too easy for Connie and her dog to live there. For example, at one point she makes a pot of pasta for dinner with a guest. How did she make it with no gas or electricity? And what about her bed? It had been sitting in that old house for 20 years. Wasn’t she afraid the mattress was full of bugs? And why was her first priority a telephone? Why wouldn’t she want a hot water heater for bath and dishwater and electricity first? Petty issues like these can spoil a story.

And then there are the last couple of chapters (that is not including the “Postscript,” which is very interesting). They’re ridiculous. For example, two people fight over a book that belongs to neither of them. If I cite more examples, I’ll give away too much.

But all in all, THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE is good. Connie’s research and the flashbacks, the author’s premise that one of the women pronounced guilty during the Salem Witch Trials may actually have been a witch, were interesting. I enjoyed reading the book. But I don’t think it lived up to all the hoopla over it in 2009 and 2010.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
techeditor, February 18, 2012 (view all comments by techeditor)
THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE by Katherine Howe is an interesting take on the innocence of the women hanged as a result of the Salem Witch Trials. History has shown that they were all victims of others’ hysteria. But what if one of the accused really was a “cunning woman”? That is the supposition of this book.

It’s 1991. Connie is a Harvard student working on her doctoral dissertation. At the same time, she’s living in the very old home left by her grandmother, supposedly getting it ready for sale. The home is near Salem, Massachusetts.

Connie finds “Deliverance Dane” written on a piece of paper inside a key inside a very old bible in the house. Her curiosity about the name leads to her investigation, which leads to the subject of her dissertation: a “recipe” book used by Deliverance Dane to cure the ailments of local people and animals. Connie needs to find that book.

When she hits a wall and she thinks she can trace it no further, her advisor, a professor at Harvard, becomes furious with her. He seems to be taking Connie’s investigation personally. Why? What does he have invested in this?

When this story deals with historical events, even those that are fiction, it’s enjoyable. Sometimes this is Connie’s research that so concerns her advisor. But sometimes we flash back to the 1600s and 1700s so that we see Deliverance’s book change ownership. In this way, we’re always a step ahead of Connie’s investigation.

This story also has magic, but it’s not as annoying as you might think. Even though it doesn’t seem at first to add to the story line and even if the magic does seem silly at times, it’s not just padding.

But other parts of the story did irritate me, especially Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned old home with no heat or electricity. It’s just too easy for Connie and her dog to live there. For example, at one point she makes a pot of pasta for dinner with a guest. How did she make it with no gas or electricity? And what about her bed? It had been sitting in that old house for 20 years. Wasn’t she afraid the mattress was full of bugs? And why was her first priority a telephone? Why wouldn’t she want a hot water heater for bath and dishwater and electricity first? Petty issues like these can spoil a story.

And then there are the last couple of chapters (that is not including the “Postscript,” which is very interesting). They’re ridiculous. For example, two people fight over a book that belongs to neither of them. If I cite more examples, I’ll give away too much.

But all in all, THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE is good. Connie’s research and the flashbacks, the author’s premise that one of the women pronounced guilty during the Salem Witch Trials may actually have been a witch, were interesting. I enjoyed reading the book. But I don’t think it lived up to all the hoopla over it in 2009 and 2010.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 12 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781401340902
Author:
Howe, Katherine
Publisher:
Hyperion
Subject:
General
Subject:
Witchcraft
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Occult fiction
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Occult & Supernatural
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20100406
Binding:
CD-audio
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.25 x 1 in 0.7 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages Hyperion Books - English 9781401340902 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Connie moves into her grandmother's house to ready it for sale.  She stumbles upon an ancient key with a tiny piece of paper rolled up inside that which reads: "Deliverance Dane."  The search for the meaning of this phrase leads Connie to witches, hangings, a bit of romance, a little supernatural phenomenon, and an elusive spell book.  Katherine Howe is an art historian and her own ancestors include Elizabeth Howe and Elizabeth Proctor, both of whom were tried in the Salem witch trials. Howe uses her own family stories here in this suspenseful read.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in Cambridge and Marblehead, Mass., Howe's propulsive if derivative novel alternates between the 1991 story of college student Connie Goodwin and a group of 17th-century outcasts. After moving into her grandmother's crumbling house to get it in shape for sale, Connie comes across a small key and piece of paper reading only 'Deliverance Dane.' The Salem witch trials, contemporary Wicca and women's roles in early American history figure prominently as Connie does her academic detective work. What follows is a breezy read in which Connie must uncover the mystery of a shadowy book written by the enigmatic Deliverance Dane. During Connie's investigation, she relies on a handsome steeplejack for romance and her mother and an expert on American colonial history for clues and support. While the twisty plot and Howe's habit of ending chapters with cliffhangers are straight out of the thriller playbook, the writing is solid overall, and Howe's depiction of early American life and the witch trials should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Heretic's Daughter. The witchcraft angle and frenetic pacing beg for a screen adaptation. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "If you need some magic in your life...lose yourself in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane."
"Review" by , "Howe's spellbinding, vividly detailed, witty, and astutely plotted debut is...a keen and magical historical mystery laced with romance and sly digs at society's persistent underestimation of women."
"Review" by , "A fresh present-day story infused with an original take on popular history....here are witches that could well be walking among us today. ...flows with poetic charm and eloquence....Katherine Howe's talent is spellbinding."
"Review" by , "Howe inserts short interludes featuring Deliverance and her descendants, adding depth to the story. Howe's own connection to Salem (two of her ancestors were accused of witchcraft) adds a welcome personal touch."
"Synopsis" by , Written by an author completing a Ph.D. in New England Studies, and whose ancestors had been accused witches in Salem, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery and discovery.
"Synopsis" by , A crime lost to time. A secret buried deep. One book unlocks an unimaginable truth.

Salem, Massachusetts, 1681. Fear and suspicion lead a small town to unspeakable acts. Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1991. A young woman is about to discover that she is tied to Salem in ways she never imagined.
"Synopsis" by , "A fresh present-day story infused with an original take on popular history. Forget broomsticks and pointy hats; here are witches that could well be walking among us today. This debut novel flows with poetic charm and eloquence that achieves high literary merit while concocting a gripping supernatural puzzler. Katherine Howe's talent is spellbinding."

--Matthew Pearl, author of The Poe Shadow and The Dante Club

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history-the Salem witch trials.

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest--to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

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