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Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

February 10, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe intrigued me because the story revolves around the Salem Witch Trials from the 1690s. The story is primarily told from the perspective of Connie Goodwin, a contemporary Harvard graduate student looking for a topic for her doctoral dissertation. When Connie’s mother decides to sell a historical family home near Salem, Connie is enlisted to clean the place up before the sale. In the process, she stumbles across a key hidden within a Bible, and written on a piece of paper within the key is the name “Deliverance Dane”. Connie begins to search for information about Deliverance Dane in the town records, as well as in Salem. Along the way she finds that Deliverance was excommunicated from the church around the time of the witch trials, which leads her to continue her search for the story of this woman who appeared to have been a witch. As Connie uncovers more information in her searches, more of the story is revealed from the perspective of Deliverance Dane. It becomes clear that there is a book of value that was passed down through the family of Deliverance Dane, but no one seems to know what is contained in this “physick” book. Finding the book becomes the focus of Connie’s research, in hopes of discovering a unique primary source for her dissertation. Of course, Connie’s efforts reveal more about herself and her relationships with family and friends than she would have ever dreamed possible.

I enjoyed this book. The elements of mystery were subtle, but still interesting. It was a pretty quick read, and there were some twists I was not expecting. I personally like historical fiction and thought this book offered a nice mix of historical and general fiction. I gave the book 3 stars on goodreads, and I would recommend it if you like historical fiction, are interested in the drama of the Salem Witch Trials, or if you enjoyed the movie (or book) Practical Magic.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 11, 2010 1:03 pm

    That books sounds interesting and worth reading.
    I recently wrote a non-fiction book about the Salem witch trials. I would be happy to send you a copy for review. Or it is also available free as a PDF on my website .

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