Join the "Between the Lines" Book Group to discuss "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe:
Howe's debut novel explores the Salem witch trials from the perspective of Connie Goodwin, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard. While cleaning out her grandmother's house near Salem in the summer of 1991, Connie discovers an old key along with a fragment of paper bearing only the words Deliverance Dane. At the urging of her adviser, Connie embarks upon a frenzy of research in local archives. Evidence mounts that Deliverance was a local herbalist and wise woman who became a victim of the witch trials. Finding Deliverance's "physick book" of recipes becomes a priority for Connie, particularly when she realizes that it may hold the key to curing her new boyfriend of his mysterious ailment. Howe inserts short interludes featuring Deliverance and her descendants, adding depth to the story. Howe's own connection to Salem (two of her ancestors were accused of witchcraft) adds a welcome personal touch. This enjoyable novel is too slow-paced to be considered a thriller, but it's a solid selection that may appeal to readers who enjoyed recent novels about Salem's witches (i.e., Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader and Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter).Laura Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.