The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Summary: Connie Goodwin should be spending her summer doing research for her Ph.D. dissertation in American History. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she's compelled to help. It's not long before the time she's set aside for research is instead spent sorting through her grandmother's ancient possessions, discovering a woman she barely knew.

One day, while exploring the dusty bookshelves in the study, Connie discovers a key hidden within an old bible. And within the key is a brittle slip of paper with two words written on it: Deliverance Dane. Along with a handsome steeplejack named Sam, Connie begins to dig into the town's records, looking for references to Deliverance Dane. But even as the pieces begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the witch trials so long ago, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past than she could have ever imagined.

Written by an author completing a Ph.D. in New England Studies, and whose ancestors were accused witches in Salem, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s and a modern woman's story of mystery and discovery.

My thoughts: I absolutely love the classic gothic novel feel The Physick Book has, complete with a family mystery and a great old house! Like The Hisorian and The Thirteenth Tale (both of which I devoured), this book is rich in mood and texture. I haven't studied the Salem Witch Trials extensively, but I've read several books (including The Crucible and The Shape of Mercy) and am familiar with most of the history. I love the take in Deliverance Dane: searching for a new, original source with which to build a career. There weren't many surprises as far as the plot goes, so those of you who read for mystery and suspense might be disappointed, but I really enjoyed it just the same.

A word of warning, though: it draws you in, so this not a book to read in short spurts!

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