May 3, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
by Katherine Howe
Hyperion Books
Pages: 384

From Goodreads:

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history--the Salem witch trials.

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest--to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.


The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the first book I’ve read about the Salem Witch Trials, and it certainly won’t be my last. It was really well done, so much so, that I wanted to know more about the trials. After finishing the book I immediately jumped on the internet and read up about this horrible time in history.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane started off somewhat slow to me, but the suspense builds up as you read. Connie is asked to clean up her grandma’s house so her mom could put it up for sale, while looking around the house she finds a key and scroll with the name Deliverance Dane on it in a old book on her grandmother’s shelves, being that Connie is a scholar, she is immediately intrigued, and begins a search to find out who or what is Deliverance Dane and why is the name on a scroll hidden in a book. Author Katherine Howe writes a book with precision, revealing layer by layer the story of Deliverance Dane. Weaved into the story is the romance between Connie and a steeplejack name Sam, and a professor trying to gain back his credibility. I really didn’t care for the love story, and if you are a fan of romance, this is seriously lacking, but the side story involving the professor was interesting. Of course, the story of Deliverance Dane and the Salem Witch Trials is what keeps you turning the pages.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a great historical fiction mystery that is well written, and engrossing. I’m now hunting for more books, fiction, and nonfiction about the Salem Witch Trials.

Rating: 4/5

Sent to me by the publisher for honest review


  1. Nice review.

    I like layered stories :)

  2. I have heard sooooooooo much about this book, I really should just get it and read it. I love books about the witch trials, thanks for your great review.


Thanks for commenting!