Friday, July 2, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I picked up “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” because of its cover. I bought it because of its author biography:
“Katherine Howe is completing a PhD 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. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband.”
They had me at Elizabeth Proctor. Perhaps it would be prudent to mention that Elizabeth Proctor as portrayed in Arthur Miller’s historical play “The Crucible” is one of my fictional heroes. Every time I read that play, I am gasp as she lies for the first time in her life to save her husband, and he wanting to be a better man, has told the damning truth. Thus a book that dabbles in the Salem Witch trials and written by someone related to the Proctors was a must read.

“The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” jumps between the story of Connie Goodwin, a PhD student at Harvard, on summer break in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1991 and the family of Deliverance Dane in the late 17th and early 18th century. In the respective stories, there are elements of magic, morality, and mystery interwoven with hatred, longing, and general misgivings of the unknown. Thrown in a delectable steeple painter with a gorgeous smile (he’s in the 1991 story so no assumptions apply in this book) and a few herbs and you have Howe’s brilliant first novel.

This is a story for “Crucible” lovers and newcomers to Salem. “Crucible” lovers will be searching for details that tie into the beloved and haunting play. Newcomers will just be along for the ride, perhaps better able to get lost in the story as they have fewer expectations of where the story will go. Either way, I think you should read it – possibly as an October book club choice. It would be perfectly suited to that more bewitching time of year.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

collette crew said...

I wish I read more. but when I do- I'm picking from your list. I'm never disappointed. next book in line- on the corner of bitter and sweet. loving you. oh! and hope the weekend was great with your fam in town!