Daily Archives: April 13, 2009

Bathtime

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A dirty puppy needs a bath from time to time…

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…And they smell so good afterwards!

*All photos are clickable to enjoy a larger view

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Book Review

physickbookofdeliverancedaneCarefully, delicately, she caught the end of the paper with her thumbnail and withdrew it slowly from the shaft. It looked like a miniature parchment, tightly rolled into a tub. She laid the key in her lap and held the parchment up to the lamp, unrolling the crisp, brittle slip one millimeter at a time. It was brown and stained, barely as long as her thumb. On it, in a watery ink barely legible in the flickering light, were written the words Deliverance Dane. – from The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, page 50 –

Connie Goodwin, a PhD candidate in American History, finds herself and her dog Arlo unexpectedly spending the summer at her grandmother’s crumbling old home near Salem, Massachusetts. Tasked by her mother to clean up the place and sell it, Connie instead discovers an old key with a message inside an ancient family Bible which compels her to search for answers to a 300 year old mystery. Connie’s quest introduces her to a handsome steeplejack named Sam; and as Connie and Sam follow the clues to uncover the whereabouts of an old “recipe” book, Connie realizes that Salem’s dark history (including the witch trials) are impacting her own life more than she knew.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is Katherine Howe’s debut novel. The narration is from several points of view and spans the time period from 1681 – 1715, as well as immersing the reader in Connie’s present day life in 1991. Howe has done her homework on the rich history surrounding the Salem Witch trials. Period detail including the architecture and clothing from the late seventeenth century create a sense of place. Howe’s own background as a graduate student in American and New England Studies, as well as her family history (which includes being a descendant of Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe who were tried as witches in Salem) lends an authenticity to the novel.

The book is not without its faults. I found myself growing weary of the New England accent in Howe’s dialogue. It started to feel like a chore to read these sections, and made me remember I was reading a story rather than being immersed in it. I also thought the early parts of the book dragged a bit. Howe’s desire to provide all the details at times distracted from the flow of her story.

That said, Howe’s strength is in creating character and when Connie discovers her previously unknown talents of healing, I believed it. Connie’s strained relationship with her new-age mother Grace had me smiling and nodding. And as the novel progressed, I found myself eager to learn the secrets and uncover the mystery surrounding Connie’s family.

For readers who love historical fiction and who are willing to allow their imaginations free reign to explore the magic of superstition, religion and witchcraft, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane will appeal.

3hstars

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Mailbox Monday – April 13, 2009

mailboxmonday Welcome to another edition of Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Please visit her post today to leave a link to YOUR post! Here is what arrived at my house last week:

wishmaker The Wish Maker, by Ali Sethi came to me from Riverhead Books through a Shelf Awareness offer. Although my TBR review books are out of control, I could not resist this one. The book flap reads: ‘A family in contemporary Pakistan contends with the nation’s political and social turbulence as those great shifts mirror changes in their own lives, in this brilliant, enthralling debut by a stunning new international voice.The Wish Maker is due for release in June. Read this opinion piece by the author published in the Daily Times in December 2007. Read more about the book at the Penguin site.

followme Follow Me by Joanna Scott arrived as a finished copy from Miriam at Little Brown and Co. Wait, you say, didn’t you already get this book a few weeks ago? Yes, I did – I got an ARC of the book. And now that I have a finished hard cover my ARC will be up for grabs at the end of the month. Watch for a giveaway of this book and two others by Joanna Scott the last week in April. Thanks, Miriam!