Friday, October 16, 2009
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Synopsis from B&N
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.
This book intriqued me from the time I read about it and saw it on the bookshelf at the local bookstore just the cover alone made me want to read it and the fact that I am a fan of anything to do with witchcraft.
It all starts when graduate student Connie Goodwin is asked by her mother to handle the sale of her grandmothers home near Salem MA. The house has been abandoned for quite awhile. Connie reluctantly takes on this task but gets intriqued by the name Deliverance Dane found in an old bible on a scrap of old paper with a single name on it.
In light of this she starts an investigation into who Deliverance Dane was and what her story was. Her travels go back to an era in Salem where everyone was suspicious about everyone else and many people were condemned and persecuted as being witches. She finds an old physicks book belonging to Deliverance with all sorts of recipes and potions to cure what ails you. Connie soon finds herself haunted by these stories and gets immersed in one of America's blackest time in history
The story goes back and forth from 1991 to the 1600's during the Witch Trials of Salem and also includes Connies relationship with her own mother and grandmother all the while trying to get this old house ready for sale...I enjoyed the story very much and recommend it to anyone wanting to read more on the Salem Witch Trials...
The author Katherine Howe's ancestors settled in Essex County, Mass. in the 1620's. Family members include Elizabeth Proctor who survived the Samel Witch Trials and Elizabeth Howe who did not.