Thursday, April 23, 2009

A shout out for Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - B&N First Look Book Club

We just concluded the Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club of Katherine Howe's debut novel  "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane".  

It was my fifth time to participate but this book and the discussions stood out.    Katherine Howe's book was just so much more than I'd even expected! It was more than fun, it was almost addictive. I couldn't put it down and I kept thinking of the points that she made and the way that early Americans lived during the the time of the Salem Witch trials.  

Synopsis, courtesy of Barnes & Noble:

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 secreted 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 colonial artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge of herbs and other, stranger things. 

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 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 trials in 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 and is a descendant of Elizabeth Proctor, who survived the Salem witch trials, and Elizabeth Howe, who did not. The idea for this novel developed while Howe was studying for her doctoral qualifying exams and walking her dog through the woods between Marblehead and Salem. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and could hardly put it down. I was lucky to get an advanced copy through the First Look Book Club and read it straight through! I found myself reading it on the subway, in line on the post office, and into the early morning. The main character stumbles across a clue to a mystery and is able to reconstruct the story of a family scarred by the Salem witch trials. I highly recommend this book!

View all my reviews.