Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
Release Date: June 9, 2009
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 Historian. The 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!