Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane *Review*

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a book I had been wanting to read for a long time. After just reading The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, I didn't know if I wanted to wade into another book about the Salem Witch Trails but The Heretic's Daughter had left me a little unfulfilled.

In my local Wal-Mart store a $5.00 hardcover promotion caught my eye when there big as you please a copy of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe had been conjured up. Not one to let an opportunity like this pass me by I grabbed one of the few remaining copies and headed to the self checkout.

The dust cover reads: 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 on 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, it's pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall in 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 past than she could have ever imagined.

Rarely does the printed word indulge all 5 of your senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. The author, Katherine Howe has an incredible gift of describing things without using forced similes. I can see what Connie sees, I can feel what she feels.

I can see the thick layer of dust on every surface of her grandmother's abandoned house and the sunlight as it tries to shine through it on the window panes. I can feel the cold escape the old-fashioned icebox as Connie opens it on a warm summer day, and the moistness of the damp grass as Connie's bare heels dip into it as she stretches on a blanket on the ground.

Crawling in between the covers and settling in amongst the pages made me feel so much a part of the story that there was almost an other worldliness quality about it, which probably caused me to rate it in my mind much higher then the storyline deserved.

Though not a 5-star book it was a very enjoyable read and I would recommend it just on the basis of the author's descriptive gift and way with words.

Is there a book that has made you feel like you could see, taste, hear, smell and feel exactly what the character does? Let me know what it was!