Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - review

"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 than she could have ever imagined." (taken from the inside cover)

What an amazing book!  I was captivated from the very beginning.  This book touches on the Salem Witch Trials that took place in 1692. According to historians, a lot of women and men were falsely accused and found guilty of witchcraft.  Some historians feel that moldy bread eaten by young children caused hallucinations, which then caused the panic of to speak.  Some historians feel that Reverend Parrish used witchcraft as an excuse when his daughter and housekeeper became ill.  Apparently Rev. Parrish was not well liked by many in Salem and he felt he needed to be redeemed. Whatever historians believe, it does not change the fact that the hysteria of witches did occur and many lost their lives and good standing in their community.

Another take on the Salem Witch Trials is that there could have been real witches at the time.  The author of  "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane", Katherine Howe, wrote this wonderful Historical Fiction about a character that did practice witchcraft during the hysteria.  The author also used real names and events of those who were caught up in the hysteria...Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wildes, Susannah Martin, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Howe. 

I enjoy reading historical fiction and this book was not a disappointment.  I highly recommend this book to all and I want to thank the librarians at Canaan Library for recommending this book to me.  (disclaimer:  i checked this book out from the library and gave my own personal opinion of the book)

Another reason that I enjoyed this book is because Susannah Martin is my ancestor.  I found this out about 20 years ago.  I have been intrigued by this time in history and can only imagine what she and her family went through.  Susannah was accused and found guilty of witchcraft and was sentenced to death by hanging.  She died on July 19, 1692 with Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wildes, Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe and a few others. 

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