Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overview

The amazingly detailed cover drew me in and once I read the blurb, I was intrigued. How fortuitous that I stumbled across this find at a thrift store a mere month or so after returning from my trip to Salem, Massachusetts. I had always been fascinated by the history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials, so visiting there was definitely an unforgettable and sobering experience.

This book reflected some of the stories I heard while visiting Salem, plus I felt I related heavily to the protagonist being a student of history who is pursuing a doctorate, so I may be rather biased in my liking of this book.

Summary

Doctoral student Connie finds herself swept up in a 17th Century mystery surrounding the Salem Witch Trials when she discovers her ancestor was one of the accused. After Connie is sent to Salem by her mother to fix up their grandmother’s old ancestral home, she discovers a book linked to her ancestor and the magical mystery surrounding it.

Likes

I’ve seen in some others reviews that there are inconsistencies in the storytelling of this novel, but there were none visible enough to bother me in my understanding of the development of this story. The setting and character of Connie and the fact that this book dealt with family history and family relations piqued my interest from the get-go. The first-person narrator, the occasional switch between the present story with Deliverance and her descendants’ stories of the past, the language, and attention to detail (which were not overly emphasized) also held my interest enough to prevent me from putting down the book.

Dislikes

I did judge some circumstances as predictable, such as the antagonist reveal as well as the truth of the physick book’s origins (which I think may have been the author’s intention anyway). I also wasn’t a fan of the “bad-boy” persona of the love interest; their relationship came off as a bit mismatched to me.

Recommendation

Overall, I think this book was well-written and appealed to my fascination in the history surrounding the 17th century witch hysteria. I recommend this book to history buffs, fantasy-fans, and thriller-seekers mainly because the story contains all of these elements (however minimal or obvious). Though a bit dated, I think this book is still an entertaining read to recommend to young adults and adults!

Content Advisory
Language: 0.5/5
Sex: 0/5 (though implied)
Violence/Gore: 2/5
Drugs/Alcohol: 1/5
*Elements of magic and “white witch” practices are also present

Published by Ashley Weaver

I am a writer, reader, student, and teacher of literature and the English language.

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