Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane centers around Connie, a Harvard graduate student. After a timely request from her mother to close her grandmother’s house, Connie moves to a town outside Salem, MA. The house is no prize, in fact it was downright scary: no electricity, overgrown yard, located off the main road. I wouldn’t walk onto the house in the daylight, let alone at night. After finding a key with a name in it in a bible, Connie begins a quest to find who is Deliverance Dane. I loved the journey to the past. I found the foundation story of Deliverance and Mercy Dane wonderful. I thought it was brilliant for Ms. Howe to pen it in old English. It was challenging for me to read, but really enjoyable.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is beautifully written, but there wasn’t a connection there for me to the modern day story. I guess it’s acceptable for witches to roam the 17th Century but they have no place in the 21st. Small-minded, I know. This comes mostly from the fear that witches do exist. Then again, I’m not a fan of the occult in literature. That is probably my biggest issue with this novel. In spite of it, I found myself continuously drawn to the characters and events in the story. I wanted to know what happened next. My personal beliefs on the subject aside, I believe the novel is wonderful for someone interested in the Salem trials and a modern day girl’s connection to them. Kudos to Ms. Howe for writing a twisted and interesting plot. This novel was a page-turner.
I feel as if I’m being unfair with this review. It’s not that the novel is terrible, because it isn’t. Ms. Howe is a gifted writer, a natural storyteller who captured her reader and doesn’t let them go until the very end. It’s not that I didn’t like it because I did. There was simply something missing for me. It’s probably the subject matter and the disconnect I felt with the main character. I understood why Connie was so structured and slightly pretentious, but that doesn’t mean I have to like her. My favorite character in the novel was Grace, Connie’s earthy and holistic mom. I just adore characters like that, mostly because I don’t take them seriously even though I know deep inside they seriously believe in the power of aura and crystals and all that other nonsense. Grace provided me with some genuine laughter and this novel sorely needed it.
Had I know the story would involve modern day sorcery, I know I wouldn’t have read it. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t know because I enjoyed this novel and am thankful Julie included in our challenge. I still wish I had checked it out of the library instead of paying for it.Final Take: 3/5