Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe was highly touted and sounded mysterious and fascinating as a historical novel. 

From the description: “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.”

I was disappointed on several levels. First, the characters were simply not deep enough for me to care. The main character was a driven academic who seemed to lack common sense, not difficult to imagine. But I did not feel any connection to her. Her inner thoughts were either too vapid or non-existant. Her relationship with her mother was useless to the story and just irritating. 

I did not want the book to be as predictable as it was, so I continued to give the author the benefit of the doubt until it was too late. I honestly kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen. When the plot climax came, it was a fizzle, literally.

Of course, the romance was much too convenient and the ‘mystery’ was too, well, ‘mysterious.’ Two handsome, young people just happen to meet under odd circumstances and fall in love, blah, blah, blah. The strange happenings are completely unexplained — and I mean completely. There’s a bad character to blame things on, but is this THE bad character? Oy, I have better things to do.

© Jan McClintock of We Need More Shelves

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