It’s hard to make a sequel at good as the original, and this one, though engaging, fell a tad shorter than its predecessor, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Let’s take a look!
This book delved more into the magical history of Connie’s family. This time, while nearly cracking under the pressure of pursuing tenure at the university where she works, Connie debates whether she should make the commitment to marry Sam, knowing that horrible fates have awaited the husbands of her women ancestors. The book weaves in and out of the different stories of Connie’s ancestors as she races against the clock to find a remedy that will save Sam…whatever the cost.
- Weaves history with fantasy. Historical Fantasy is my favorite combo-genre. I learned a lot more about herbs than I had, as well as the folklore that surrounded the actual historical evidence of cunning-folk.
- “Magic comes at a cost” theme. This was done in a way that tested the protagonist in how far she would go to save those she loved.
- Which “witch”? This story leaned more on the “wise woman” definition of witches rather than the “deal with the devil” definition that some books lean on for their characters like in The Witch’s Daughter (that one gave me the willies due to that).
- Pacing. It took me a while to get into the book due to the slow-moving beginning that, while necessary in introducing us to a new protagonist, mainly talks about the scholastic challenges Connie faces. I’m always a fan of the “scholar protagonist”, but it lagged a bit at times.
- An unjust death. Animal-lovers like myself who read this book will know exactly who I’m talking about.
- Who’s the antagonist? The villain of the story wasn’t quite clear to me. I think the author wanted the mysterious forces against the protagonist to be the antagonist of the story which worked out okay, but it was executed a bit shallowly.
This book wrapped up Connie’s story of her family legacy well and I think it was a fitting conclusion to a unique and intriguing story about a family of witches. I would recommend this story to those interested in colonial history and the history of witches. However, I think that this novel’s predecessor The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a good enough book that it can stand alone without a sequel.