The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe

Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
ISBN: 9781401340902
Pages: 384
Release Date: June 9, 2009
Publisher: Voice
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the author’s website:

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 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 artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

I have a confession to make:  I’m actually not that interested in American history.  It’s not that it isn’t complex or worthwhile, but it just doesn’t capture my interest like the history of other parts of the world.  Still, when I first heard about The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, I knew I wanted to read it.

I recently read another book about the Salem witch trials, The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent [review].  Because of the similar subject matter, I can’t help but compare the two in my head.  While The Heretic’s Daughter [review] is a much richer picture of the period’s history and what actually happened to the victims of this horrible tragedy, I found TThe Physick Book of Deliverance Dane to be much more captivating.  I really liked how it was written; it does contain some historical fiction, but it is much more about Connie’s research.

Someone (I can’t remember who) said that people who enjoyed The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova would enjoy The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I agree with that assessment, considering I loved The HistorianThe Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is about the research process and making amazing discoveries though hard work and determination.  It’s as much about Connie’s search as it is about what she uncovers.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a bit predictable, but it doesn’t really suffer because of that.  The reader already knows what Connie is going to discover; the important part of the book is her journey.  Also, there are definitely some unexpected twists and turns along the way!

I really enjoyed The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and highly recommend it.  From what I can tell, the reviews have been somewhat mixed, but I really appreciated the book for what it is.  Fans of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian should definitely pick this one up.

A huge thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!

Comments

  1. I’m not really into American history either. It just doesn’t capture me in the same way. So I’m with you, I appreciated the focus on Connie’s research and Connie’s search rather than a focus on the historical side of things.

  2. I’m not really into American history either. It just doesn’t capture me in the same way. So I’m with you, I appreciated the focus on Connie’s research and Connie’s search rather than a focus on the historical side of things.

  3. I’m looking forward to this book after all the great reviews.

  4. I’m looking forward to this book after all the great reviews.

  5. YAY!!!!! I’m going to be reading this one soon! Great review. I loved THE HERETIC QUEEN and I’m very interested in that time period!

  6. YAY!!!!! I’m going to be reading this one soon! Great review. I loved THE HERETIC QUEEN and I’m very interested in that time period!

  7. Ooops! Just dawned on me that I typed HERETIC QUEEN (loved that book too) but I meant to type THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER!

  8. Ooops! Just dawned on me that I typed HERETIC QUEEN (loved that book too) but I meant to type THE HERETIC’S DAUGHTER!

  9. I’m already on the library waiting list for this one. Good to see lots of folks giving it positive reviews.

  10. I’m already on the library waiting list for this one. Good to see lots of folks giving it positive reviews.

  11. I know this book is going to be perfect for me. It’s on the must read very soon list.

  12. I know this book is going to be perfect for me. It’s on the must read very soon list.

  13. I am really leaning toward this book now, after reading several reviews of it.

  14. I am really leaning toward this book now, after reading several reviews of it.

  15. Glad you liked it as I did. I agree with pretty much everything you said of course but here is my review anyway The Burton Review.

  16. Glad you liked it as I did. I agree with pretty much everything you said of course but here is my review anyway The Burton Review.

  17. I’ve got a copy of this on its way to me, and am looking forward to reading it. Especially since I also loved The Historian!

  18. I’ve got a copy of this on its way to me, and am looking forward to reading it. Especially since I also loved The Historian!

  19. I wasn’t too sure about this book, but between you and Medieval Bookworm, you have piqued my interest, especially since you liken it to The Historian. I only have one question; what did YOU think of that odd back cover?

  20. I wasn’t too sure about this book, but between you and Medieval Bookworm, you have piqued my interest, especially since you liken it to The Historian. I only have one question; what did YOU think of that odd back cover?

  21. Now I simply must read this since you said it’s similar to The Historian! Great review!

  22. Now I simply must read this since you said it’s similar to The Historian! Great review!

  23. You know, it is interesting, I’m intrigued by American history, but not really by historical fiction set in America (most of the time). Maybe that’s why the format worked so well for me too. I definitely agree on your assessment re: Physick Book vs. Heretic’s Daughter, as well as the idea that fans of The Historian would probably like this.

  24. You know, it is interesting, I’m intrigued by American history, but not really by historical fiction set in America (most of the time). Maybe that’s why the format worked so well for me too. I definitely agree on your assessment re: Physick Book vs. Heretic’s Daughter, as well as the idea that fans of The Historian would probably like this.

  25. I really enjoyed this one too. Just put up my review today. It didn’t take me long to read at all.

  26. I really enjoyed this one too. Just put up my review today. It didn’t take me long to read at all.

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