Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

by Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance DaneBook number two purchased on my Kindle. Yay! I read this one on my vacation to Palm Desert, which seems to be becoming a yearly occurrence. Fine by me. Palm trees you can touch and snowy mountains you can see in the distance is a lovely setting when it's cold and nasty in Cleveland in March. If only the desert had water...

I had first heard of this one on, of all places, Good Morning America. How I miss Chris Cuomo and Diane Sawyer, but that's another story altogether. I've always thought witches and witchcraft were kind of cool. By no means do I want to join Wicca, but I like the fantasy of being able to cast spells. Bewitched was such a fun show! So that's what immediately allured me to this book. A grad student moves into her long-dead grandmother's house in order to prepare it for sale. In the house she finds a book that contains a small key and a rolled-up piece of paper that has only two words on it: Deliverance Dane. This leads Connie to do extensive research to find out what DD is, only to discover that DD is a who. She was accused of witchcraft and hung during the Salem witch trials. The story weaves flawlessly between current day (1991) and 1692.  The only thing I had a bit of trouble with was the Old English vocabulary that Howe used when taking the reader back to Salem. I'm not completely sure that it was necessary to such an extent because it really felt like an obstacle at times. But that is honestly the only bad thing I can say about this book. It was so unique, so different and interesting, and I could barely put it down. I think I was actually sorry to finish so quickly.

The other really cool thing is that Deliverance Dane actually existed. I'm not sure that you would call this book historical fiction or not, but Howe was able to weave in quite a few characters that existed in the times of the witch trials. She is even a descendant of a few accused witches herself, and has links on her website as proof. Even when I finished the book I found myself reading more into the lives of these 17th-century women. For me, that's a sign of a book that genuinely interested me. I say that if you're in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the perfect solution.

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