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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (edition 2009)

by Katherine Howe

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3,2733051,681 (3.68)258
Member:Tbrown33
Title:The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Authors:Katherine Howe
Info:Voice (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Work details

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
A nice, quick read complete with research , magic, and a few Salem witches. Connie is a Harvard grad student with the summer task of cleaning up the old family home before its sale when she uncovers evidence of a book that could be the beginning of her dissertation. She soon learns that one of her ancestors was accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and her quest quickly leads to symbols burned on her door and her boyfriend exhibiting strangers symptoms. Fun reading, with a nice mix of history and witchcraft. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 26, 2016 |
I listened to this book on Audio CD. It was different than my normal reads but I enjoyed it. I felt it was historically accurate. ( )
  lacey.tucker | Mar 10, 2016 |
Liked the book, thought it would be a little better. For a reseacher, the main character missed a lot of obvious clues. ( )
  umbiela | Feb 16, 2016 |
In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe uses the Salem Witch Trials to tell a story of the legacy of cunning women in history, interweaving historical fact with modern fiction. Though Deliverance Dane was a real person, the scanty records of her existence allow Howe to reimagine her and her role in the trials, demonstrating a knowledge of Salem based on the work of the most eminent historians in the field. Though the historical field has largely moved past Chadwick Hansen's work, Howe reinvents his most outlandish claim (maybe there were witches at Salem) as the basis for the more fantastical elements of her story. When discussing Dane's fictional descendants, Howe draws upon the work of other historians, such as Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's groundbreaking monograph, A Midwife's Tale.
The modern-day parts of Howe's story, set in 1991, resemble other stories that reinterpret history for a modern setting, such as Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian or Dan Brown's Angels & Demons. Certain parts of the modern story fall into cliché, such as the skeptic who turns out to have powers, parts of the romantic subplot, and the identity of the modern antagonist, but the historical elements combined with Howe's romanticized portrayal of her protagonist's research are endearing enough that the clichés never grow tiresome.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane will appeal to those interested in the history of Salem or general witchcraft history as well as fans of historical fiction. Howe's writing is an excellent introduction to the academic history of Salem for non-historians and the fantasy elements will entertain even those who do not enjoy history. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jan 30, 2016 |
It was an okay read. I was heading to Boston for vacation and for that reason alone I was interested in the setting and topic. ( )
  kmmsb459 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
I absolutely love the setup of having someone in the present investigating a story from the past, with the action moving between the two periods, but so very few authors do it well and get the balance right. Howe is one of those few. The action takes place mostly in the present, with the sparse sections set at the times of Deliverance and her descendents exactly enough to enrich the investigation and mirror and illustrate some of the developments in Connie's story.

I also loved that Connie had to do proper detective work to uncover what had gone on in Deliverance's time. The last few books I read with this setup ...had the present-day protagonist just stumbling on stuff, and then doing nothing more strenuous than reading a diary. Connie isn't so lucky. She has to follow up on all sorts of sources, and since the book is set in 1991, this doesn't mean just going online and running a few searches. She needs to actually visit a variety of places and consult a whole lot of potential documents, from church archives to probate records, and when she does find something, she needs to interpret and decode what ambiguous records might mean and imply. ...

Something I really ended up liking, though were the relationships in the book. There are a few false steps in the characterisations at the beginning, with people sounding a bit off... Howe soon hits her stride, and things feel much more natural. I liked Connie and Sam's romance, but I think my favourite was the way Howe develops the concept of mother-daughter relationships
 
"The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" is smart, and Howe's research translates into a vividly imagined narrative. The social forces driving Deliverance's life come alive, as do the realities of the not so distant pre-Internet and cellphone realities of Connie's world. The novel is a page-turner, but the characters, not the plot, dominate... The novel's weakness lies in the final pages, which beg credulity. That flaw shouldn't be a deal-killer. "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane," up to that point, not only goes down smoothly but raises questions about society, and what might be taken for magic, that linger after the final page is turned.
 
“The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” does indeed perform a work of magic. Through a type of literary alchemy the current interest in novels tied to the Salem witch trial (“The Heretic’s Daughter” by Kathleen Kent and “The Lace Reader” by Brunonia Barry are just two examples), commingles with the plot of A.S. Byatt’s “Possession” (in which a graduate student stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to upend recorded history) and produces a new compound – in this case, one powerful enough to deliver a charming summer read.
 
In her provocative debut novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe pairs a scholarly search for a missing book with the thrill of spine-tingling witchery.
 
I liked this book very much, but I want to ask the author's editor to please, in the future, keep her from wrapping or folding her characters' arms around their middles. And also point out that Connie's shoulder bag gets dropped on the floor so often it begins to sound like a character itself. But these are minor complaints. And by the end of this book, as any graduate student should, Katherine Howe has filled us in on much more than we used to know about that group of unfortunate women who paid the price of their lives due to a town's irrational fears.
 
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Epigraph
"I watch'd today as Giles Corey was presst to death between the stones. He had lain so for two days mute. With each stone they tolde him he must plead, lest more rocks be added. But he only whisperd, More weight. Standing in the crowde I found Goodwyfe Dane, who, as the last stone lower'd, went white, grippt my hand, and wept."

--Letter fragment dated "Salem Towne, September 16, 1692"
Division of Rare Manuscripts, Boston Athenaeum
Dedication
For my family
First words
Peter Petford slipped a long wooden spoon into the simmering iron pot of lentils hanging over the fire and tried to push the worry from his stomach.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (U.S.) is also known as The Lost Book of Salem (U.K.)
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Book description
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, shes's compelled to help. One day, while exploring the dusty bookshelves in the study, Connie discovers an ancient key, 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 research Deliverance Dane. But even as the pieces fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of long ago, and she fears that she is more tied to Salem's dark past than she could have ever imangined.
Haiku summary
Connie discovers
Key in granny's cottage and
Descent from witches.
(passion4reading)

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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.… (more)

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Hyperion and Voice

2 editions of this book were published by Hyperion and Voice.

Editions: 1401340903, 1401341330

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