In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe creates an interesting story about an always intriguing subject—the Salem witch trials. Flowing between “present” day (1991) and the 17th century, Howe develops an incredible story about Deliverance Dane, a woman accused of witchcraft, and Connie, a grad student who becomes swept into her story after finding a piece of paper with Deliverance Dane written on it. Connie comes across the paper at her Grandmother’s house—which she is spending the summer cleaning—and it sparks an interest to know more.
Although the book was a bit predictable at parts, I was completely enthralled from cover to cover. Howe’s writing is beautiful. I love the way Connie views her mind as a library, picking a file to look under when she needs to remember something. She also visualizes things in such a fascinating way, which really helped the story coming to life.
It was strange for me to get used to the fact that Connie didn’t have a cell phone—which would have been an easy fix to her having to use a payphone because the house was not wired for a phone…or electricity. I couldn’t help but laugh when, on page 169, I read:
“One of them had his gigantic cellular phone that he kept on his desk! What kind of high schooler has a cellular phone anyway? Aren’t those just for bankers?”
I just had to remind myself it was 1991 and even though it seemed like she was living in my time right now, a lot has changed since then.
The entire story was so interesting. I love Howe’s writing style and I look forward to reading more from her.