Friday, May 31, 2013

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Synopsis: Connie, a doctorate candidate at Harvard, is asked by her mother to take care of the sale of her grandmother's abandoned home near Salem. Strangely, she cannot refuse the request from her free spirited, hippie mother and decides to spend the summer in the house. While looking amongst the bookshelves for something to read, she finds a strange gold key within a family Bible with the name "Deliverance Dane" written on it. Intrigued, she uses her family history to fuel the doctoral thesis and finds a family secret that had leads all the way back to the Salem Witch Trials.

Review: This book was quite delightful from start to finish. It is rare to find a fictional story based on the Salem Witch Trials that is original and not full of unrealistic hokum. Since Katherine Howe is also studying the topic of which she has written about, she brings a certain logical elegance that I appreciated very much. The characters in the story were also very believable and made the story read as real life instead of fantasy, which is something else that I enjoyed very much. If there had been a great deal of individuals riding broomsticks through the sky on a moonlit night, I don't think that I would have been able to finish the book.

Sometimes I thought the transitions between Salem around the 1680's and Cambridge, Massachusetts 1991 were not as smooth as they could be, which was slightly distracting for me. There was also quite a bit of historical information that was given throughout the book, but being someone who enjoys that sort of thing, I did not feel it was a hindrance to my overall enjoyment of the book. If you are person that does not like too many details, this might bother you and make the book a little bit slower of a read.

I also liked how she had several post scripts at the end of the book. The first was an explanation of how she combined fact and fiction in the book along with her own personal ties to the Salem Witch Trial. She also has included a little section on questions to help with book club topics of discussion, which I thought were all thought provoking and interesting. The last is her acknowledgments and all of the individuals that helped her to create this book.

Overall, this was a very nice read and anyone who enjoys realistic historical fiction combined with a modern day mystery will enjoy this book immensely.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book was purchased from a local bookstore; I was not asked to write a review on it.

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