The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe

I’ve been severely neglecting this blog, and I’m really sorry!

Unfortunately due to university starting again soon and it being my third year (ahh), its going to be even harder to keep it up. SO.. I had a marvellous idea. Seeing as I am studying English Literature I thought I would write about the books I’m studying/writing essays on, it means that I will have the time because I have to read the books anyway AND I still get to update this blog (two birds one stone, right?!) It could be be completely and utterly boring for some, but, you never know it could help someone who is studying the same book. I will obviously still be writing some reviews on books that I have chosen to read, but the majority will be uni books. So from late September I will start with that. I’d love any feedback, comments or ideas on what I write about!

For now I can review a book that I have chosen to read (yay). So lets get to it.


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


After reading Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy I was on a serious Witch fiction come-down. I needed more books about Witches immediately. So, obviously, I looked at the Goodreads suggestions and this beautiful book popped out at me.

It has taken me a really long time to read it and I’m so annoyed with myself for waiting so long. It was the perfect cure for my Witch withdrawal.

And also, the cover is lush!

The chapters of the book are split between the life of Connie Goodwin, a Harvard grad student in 1991 and Deliverance Dane, her daughter and granddaughter, in the 16-1700s. I absolutely loved the historical chapters, they were so well written and really took you back to the time period. One of the only things that bugged me about this book was the lack of them, I wanted to know so much more about Deliverance and her family.

Connie Goodwin’s chapters were, for the most part, just as enjoyable as the historical chapters. I really liked Connie’s character. Having read a lot of reviews of this book I found that a lot of people thought Connie quite stupid and dense. However I didn’t find this, the bits that would make you think this of her need to be in the story. There are a lot of parts that wouldn’t make sense to someone who has no knowledge of the 15th century, Witchcraft or the Salem Trials and through Connie’s learning the reader learns too, which I thought was a nice touch.

Some of the other characters fell a bit flat for me. Connie’s best friend Liz doesn’t really seem to be developed that much. I can see how she adds to the story occasionally, but overall the story doesn’t need her. Connie’s boyfriend Sam had the makings of a wonderful character, but again wasn’t developed enough. Connie’s mother Grace however, is an excellent character, I wish there was more of her (if she had just replaced Liz that would have been fine by me!).

The story itself is an original and well written tale. Some bits here and there could have done with some sharpening, but overall it was a really enjoyable and easy read.


3 thoughts on “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Katherine Howe

  1. I LOVE THE IDEA! It won’t be boring at all. I’m studying languages and literature, and English lit classes are my personal favorite. On days when I have English lit classes, I love getting up in the morning 😀 So please, do write about the books you’re reading for uni! I’m already looking forward to it 🙂


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