Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
Published: 2 April 2010
Format: Finished paperback
While clearing out her grandmother’s cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. So begins the hunt to uncover the woman behind the name, a hunt that takes her back to Salem in 1692…and the infamous witchcraft trials. But nothing is entirely as it seems and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance’s spell book, the Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artefact at any cost. What secrets does the Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions – and reveal the truth about Salem’s women – before an ancient family curse once more fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy . . .
This book really has it all, a good story (in two different times), a mystery, a detective story, magic and a little romance! Connie is a good character (although I don’t really know what she looks like) a clever student whose studies and own life come together. I always really wanted to know what was going to happen next, and there were quite a few surprises along the way. I would have liked to know more about boyfriend Sam though! 😄
The book is set in modern times ( well, 1991!) and also at the time of the Salem witch trials (late 1600s) and the links between the two become more obvious as the story progresses. I found the chapters from the early time rang true as voices from the past, the feeling of a different way of life (in fact a completely different way of THINKING) and how it could cause so much trouble for women who became the subject of rumours and suspicion. The mother Deliverance and daughter Mercy have a knowledge of plants and lore that is written down in a ledger known as the shadow book.
Connie’s mother asks her to clear out her grandmother’s cottage, and while doing so she finds evidence that leads her to search for Deliverance’s shadow book as part of her studies and research. But someone else is also very interested, although it would be a spoiler to say too much here! Connie meets hunky restoration expert Sam who helps her in her quest. But from here on it is a puzzle and a race to find the shadow book as Connie and her friend Sam find themselves in danger, and Connie begins to discover that she has inherited more than just her looks from her family…..
Overall, I think this book was really interesting. It was well-written and it kept me wanting to find out what happened next. The modern characters were easy to relate to and I could easily imagine the places and times the historical characters were in. However, there weren’t really any descriptions of the appearance of any of the characters, which I would have liked, but places (like the old cottage) were well described. The storyline was good and pacy so that you’d want to find out what was going to happen next. A pretty creepy bad guy and a dog who is more than he seems all add to the fun. A good read!
Rating coming soon! 🙂
Thank you very much to Penguin for providing me with this copy!