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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (edition 2009)

by Katherine Howe

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3,1052901,822 (3.68)256
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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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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English (288)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (290)
Showing 1-5 of 288 (next | show all)
A mediocre book about witchcraft and the Salem witch trials. The story alternates between the 1990’s and the 1600’s. I found it very predictable – I knew what was going to happen very early in the novel. There were also some very unrealistic actions on the part of the protagonist. I think I read this novel because it was on USA Today's list of The Top 10 Books of 2009. I wonder why? The book was saved from a 2-star rating by the interesting tidbits about Salem and the “medical” profession in its infancy. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Well researched book based on the Salem witch trials. A grad student spends the summer cleaning out her grandmother's house, and discovers the name Deliverence tucked inside a key, hidden in a bible. This sends her on a quest to find the story behind the mysterious name. This book contains no new surprises or previously unknown enlightenment about the witch trials, but is a wonderful read none-the-less!
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
SPOILERS!!!

Although I found the general concept of this book interesting, I quickly got bored with all the Harvard/research/dissertation/look-how-smart-I-am sludge. Connie is whiny and her reluctance to embrace her family and her family history is beyond annoying. Most disappointing, however, is that the key didn't actually go to anything. I was really looking forward to a secret treasure chest or hidden room or SOMETHING. ( )
  AlysonWonderland | Jun 22, 2015 |
This is a dual story of a Salem era accused witch and her modern day descendant hot on the trail of her own family's history. This is a pleasant diversion with enough mystery, romance and magic to remain plausible. Our heroine, Connie, seems a bit naive, having kept her nose to the academic grindstone for too long. There's plenty of foreshadowing about the true identity of the bad guy(s) and she finally starts to wise up and realize what was really important. The way some academic advisers use and abuse their graduate students gave an added element of interest. The more recent story line is set in the early 1990s and is a reminder that not too long ago there were still card catalogs and cell phones and googling were still down the road. Both were things that would have solved a lot of our character's problems, but then we wouldn't have such an interesting story. Excellent research backs up the older story line of the persecutions and motivations in the 17th century. Highly recommended. ( )
  varielle | Mar 9, 2015 |
Extremely slow burn in the beginning. Near the mid point it picks up and you really start to understand where it is going. ( )
  adam.d.woodard | Feb 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 288 (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.)
Disambiguation notice
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)

(summary from another edition)

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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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