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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by…

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (edition 2009)

by Katherine Howe

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3,0292861,875 (3.67)249
Title:The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Authors:Katherine Howe
Info:Voice (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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Showing 1-5 of 284 (next | show all)
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 |
This is a slow burning story. Its great if you're looking for a something to read at a leisurely pace. But if you're looking for a fast paced plot, then I don't recommend picking this up.

The story follows Connie, a graduate student, as she tries to track down one of her ancestor's physick books. As she goes deeper into her family's past she starts to uncover strange facts. On top of this her academic adviser is acting very odd and someone burns an occult symbol into her door.

Howe is great at establishing the setting of her story. The descriptions of the hot summer atmosphere of Salem were wonderful. My biggest complaint was that it felt like the story skipped around a lot. We didn't really get to see very much insight into how the characters handled some situations immediately after they happened. This is probably one of the biggest things that cut down on the intensity of the plot. Big moments would happen and then in the next chapter we'd get characters reflecting on it days or weeks later.

Other than that, I enjoyed the book. I loved Connie, Sam, and Arlo. They were interesting characters who Howe managed to make me genuinely care about. This would be a good book to pick up if you're into witch folklore and the history of the Salem Witch trails. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Having been born and raised in Massachusetts, Salem and its witch trials were kind of a backdrop to our history. The place holds a certain mystique for many of us. We want to know how and why it happened. And there are also the "what if" questions, as we wondered if some of those people were truly practicing some sort of pagan-style witchcraft. Katherine Howe brings all this to life within these pages.

This story takes place largely during the present day, with flashbacks to the late 1600s when the witch trials took place. These transitions, from modern to historical fiction, are often problematic for authors. That is not the case here at all. Katherine Howe masters both eras. The transitions are well done, and I easily slipped back in time along with the characters.

Some readers have complained that Howe overstepped, taking us too far into the fantasy realm. That wasn't an issue for me at all. I enjoyed the way she handled the "what if" questions of magic.

The story gives us immense insight into Puritan life. We also have some mystery and suspense, along with a bit of romance. The detail with the setting puts us right in place with the characters, so we feel what it's like to be where they are.

Definitely a book I'd recommend. ( )
  Darcia | Jan 15, 2015 |
Connie, a graduate student in American History, suddenly learns that her late grandmother's house owes decades' worth of back taxes and must be sold to cover the cost. Her flighty mother is out in New Mexico somewhere, so it falls to Connie to get the decrepit old shack ready for sale. While there, she discovers the existence of Deliverance Dane, a victim of the Salem witch trials. The story jumps between colonial and modern times, each piecing together a bit more of the tale. I found Connie's advisor to be unrealistically demanding - who expects an undiscovered manuscript of historical relevance to appear within a month? - but the rest of it was a fun bit of fantasy, and the author's love of New England was contagious. ( )
  melydia | Jan 12, 2015 |
I wanted to love this book. I had looked at this book several times over many months before finally purchasing it. I felt it would either be fabulous or trash. Worse than either, it was mediocre and at times annoying.

The girl who wrote this book is currently undertaking a Ph.d in Colonial America concentrating on this era of the Salem witch trials and has traced her own ancestry to two women who were part of that piece of history. Given all that, I would expect someone to write more confidently and knowledgeably of the period.

Instead, from the academic and historical point of view, I feel that the author is overly enamored with her education and herself instead of the her subject. This attitude leads to the self-aggrandized, professorial young professionals that seem to proliferate in the world. Highly educated but knowing very little about the subjects that they are going into great debt to learn about.

On the other hand, those with an interest in this period of American history, will get a great launching pad to consider ideas about what might have been happening in a slightly different context than the Salem witch trials are usually presented. For those that like description in their writing - this book is heavy with it. A lot of the writing is descriptive and that usually is used as a substitute for weaknesses in the story. There are plenty.

The first is the obvious inconsistencies. The main character keeps switching from not knowing her grandmother to recalling all kinds of details. The second, I would expect a doctoral candidate to have a much more discerning mind in piecing things together than this character had. It made the "mystery" that was unfolding, almost juvenile. Third, if this is a doctoral candidate who just completed orals and is moving onto her dissertation in this subject matter, she has considerable gaps in knowledge regarding customs, language and even the physical geography of place. One would assume that given the subject matter, she would have been to Salem a million times. Salem barely plays a role and although Marblehead does, it is so ill defined that one cannot imagine the place at all - odd given the detailed descriptions of other things in the book.

The love story - eh. Not much to pique one's interest there and the magical elements and alchemical discussions which could have been fantastic were undercut by the author's own bias with scientific theory. Her imagination/belief/understanding don't go beyond the superficial. And how wonderful that the three academics at the end are able to answer in two lines the "solution" to the alchemical problem that philosophers through the ages are still debating. This also strikes me as someone who wanted to put a little Harry Potter into American writing but make it feel academic.

I'll pass the book along for other takes on it but ultimately, this one goes into the book bag as a trade in for a new book. Maybe a semi-fun read for the shorter autumn days or October - the month of Halloween and all. ( )
  ozzieslim | Dec 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 284 (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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"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
For my family
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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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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.

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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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