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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

(The Physick Book #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  55,216 ratings  ·  6,291 reviews
A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history--the Salem witch trials.

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
Hardcover, First Edition, 371 pages
Published May 22nd 2009 by voice
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Allison Fullen The first answer is exactly why young people need to read books like this. More concern about cursing and the mention of a natural part of a woman’s b…moreThe first answer is exactly why young people need to read books like this. More concern about cursing and the mention of a natural part of a woman’s body (they don’t even SAY the word clitoris, oh the pearl clutching! S/) than the murder and torture of innocent women. Sex is barely alluded to as a part of the story of the heroine’s falling in love. While this book is fiction, it can open discussion about real history, oppression and religion. THAT subject matter may be too mature for a 10 year old, but, maybe not. At this point in school, they are learning about war, kingdoms, dictatorship, and all of the related horrors. If there is more concern about anatomy, love making (not even described in this book) and words, but not the horrors inflicted on the women in this book (also not fully described), then YOU are the problem.

Update: I wasn’t quite finished with the book when I wrote this, my mistake. They do describe the murders, with enough detail that even I, a 39 year old woman, was disturbed. I skipped some of it, it was so sad and infuriating. I can’t say I would recommend it for my kids at that age, but again, I’d rather they read curse words and about love and sex than the horrors of war and witches. We are more scared of mention of a girl’s clit than murder 🙄(less)
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Pamela I thought it was because she did a spell calling him to her
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Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was ok

Only a few chapters into the book I am shocked at the following glaring error (and I hope there aren't any more of this magnitude before I'm done):

On page 35 when Liz asks Connie, "Did you ever meet her (Granna)?", Connie answers that her mother told her that she met her grandmother when she came to visit them in Concord. When Liz asks, "Do you remember any of this?", Connie says, "Not really. I think maybe I remember her dying.....I must have been abo
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Jun 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like irrelevant details
If you're eagerly looking forward to reading this book, avoid my scathing review.

Sorry folks, if this review seems unkind, but I've got major hater tots for this book. I'm not averse to great detail if it's germane to the story or at least interesting, amusing, or informative. But must Ms. Howe describe for us each and every slant of light that passes through every window, and the piece of furniture or floor on which that slant of light falls? And the facial expression of every character in the
Always Pouting
I only rated this as high as I did because I thought the idea was really interesting but honestly the execution was terrible. The main character was so boring and flat and every time she had a thought I wanted to smash my head into the wall. The professor over seeing her dissertation was a creep, and her mother didn't appeal to me at all either. The writing was so slow and I really had to force myself to finish this one. Also it really stretched my suspension of disbelief especially believing th ...more
Peter (on hiatus)
I loved the concept of a spellbook being uncovered in modern times with flashbacks to the Salem Witch trials of 1692. There is intrigue. Add a little bit of a thriller that other more sinister people want the book and you've got a cracker of a plot and an adventure story. Finally, add a great main character that you can trust to deliver the story, and surely a winner.

The problem is that the character, Connie, and the logic she applies doesn't match the supposed intelligence and qualifi
Mar 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
There was so much that led me to believe I would thoroughly love this book. The topic is of interest to me on lots of levels (I too am related to many of the individuals on both sides of the Salem trials), I've visited the area before, the author has great credentials and has been educated at outstanding schools, the cover is beautiful, the publisher is pouring out a great deal of money into hype, and I enjoy historical fiction as well as looking at something from a different angle. I so looked ...more
Richard Derus
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.9* of five

The Publisher Says: A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history-the Salem witch trials.

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 fa
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Usually I'm not the type of person to just randomly go out to Barnes and Noble and buy a book that I'm not sure I'll enjoy. Something about this book pulled me in, though, and it didn't let go of me until I finished it just now.

I loved this book. Katherine Howe weaves her story with the finesse of a practiced writer, not someone who's just published her first novel. There was something about her writing style that I just couldn't get enough of. It wasn't too simple, but it wasn't too difficult
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very wordy story. This style of writing is not for me. Thus, I struggled to connect with this story from the very beginning.

I was intrigued by the premise, but should have known better. In general, I don’t connect with modern timelines. So the dual timeline in this case didn’t work for me.

And I’ve seen it before, those intriguing plots don’t always work out well. Simple is better.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
This has gotten a lot of buzz lately in the library world. Four librarians including myself had holds on it before it even arrived at the building. Apparently we'd all been hooked by the same intriguing blurb. Don't make the same mistake! A historical mystery that is slow to no purpose, containing flat, unexceptional writing and an utterly predictable and unoriginal plot.

Whatever, I guess it was fine. Just, am annoyed from having to be reminded once again that one must read reviews with great b
First, I did like this book. It is a great summer beach book; BUT it was much, much lighter than I thought it was going to be and given the hype I had been hoping for much more. The juxtaposition of the historical story and the modern story were very well done and the characters were likable and well thought out. The relationships between the characters in each time period were very real and believable and the descriptions of historical Salem and Marblehead and the Salem Witch Trials were intere ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Very badly written "mystery" that manages to make the Salem era boring. The average reader picks up the clues entire chapters before Our Heroine, Connie, figures them out, and often has to stop reading long enough for her to catch up. I think this book was set in 1991 so that Connie would not have access to the Internet. A few hours on Google or Wikipedia might have solved the mystery in an afternoon.

As several other reviewers have pointed out, the heroine doesn't seem to possess enough brain m
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
The concept was interesting. Unfortunately, the execution was not as good. Also, it featured a "historian" who apparently knows nothing about doing historical research. (I speak as a historian.)

Also, I guessed the villain and the "big twist" fairly early, which didn't help.

A real disappointment.
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Connie Goodwin, a doctoral candidate in American History at Harvard, who (upon her mother’s request) spends the summer cleaning and clearing out her grandmother's house that has been vacant for 20 years in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Little did Connie know what she was in store for when she agreed to this tedious task.

While browsing through her grandmother’s old books, Connie stumbles upon a very old key in a bible. Attached to this key is an equally old slip of paper with t
Oct 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Bravo to whoever was responsible for the book jacket. I was drawn in by a glowing review from Matthew Pearl, the author of “The Dante Club.” The premise looked like a unique spin to one of America’s more tragic parts of history, the Salem witch trials. However the novel was a poorly written 375 page disappointment.

I felt much like Connie; searching for a book. The characters (living and dead) were void of dimension, making it difficult for me to feel vested in her quest for Deliverance Dane. Th
In the 90s, there was a series called Poltergeist the Legacy. It was about a group of people who investigated paranormal mysteries. It was kinda good. There was an episode that supposedly took place in Boston. The series supposedly took place in San Fran but considering that the money was always marked with Queen Elizabeth II's head, the series was mostly likely filmed in CA. Anyway, the Boston show was about a history grad student who discovers that her ancestor might have been a witch.

Go watch
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with the Salem witch hunts. Even as a young girl in elementary school, I read books, watched movies and loved listening to stories about the witch trials and the events leading up to them. So when I saw The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, it goes without saying that I just had to have it.

We first meet our heroine, Connie Goodwin, as she’s about to answer the final question in her qualifying exam at Harvard; “Would you please provide the co
Tiffany PSquared
We can understand the world only through the language that is at our disposal. Every period has its own linguistic - and perceptive - lens.

Historic and modern-day Massachusetts reunite in this tale of one woman's unintentional climb through her family tree. Connie discovers more than she bargains for while researching for her doctoral dissertation.

What I Liked:
- I have read several books about the Salem witch trials, but none that were based in modern times. This put the trials into a new
Jul 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-group-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Spoilers possible... The plot of this book is about a modern graduate student's research into a primary source concurrent with the Salem witch trials. There were parts that were extremely well written. The historical sequences, particularly the hangings, were eloquent at times. However, I found so much = the storyline, events, locales and characters predictable, and at the same time, somewhat unbelieveable. I was distracted by the timeline, which seemed unrealistic. How could the main character ...more
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting book, and as a New Englander it felt very real - the setting, the language, the little nuances concerning customs and a way not only of life, but of 'thinking.' My family goes way back to one of the main events in this book: the Salem Witch Trials. My earliest American ancestors lived in Ipswich and the family patriarch actually signed a petition - along with his four adult sons - asking for leniency for the accused witches. Consider that. Consider the repercussions which might have ...more
Bill Khaemba
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
“But remember. Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean it isn't real.”

First of all fun fact about me, I love witch related stories like a lot

I grew up watching Charmed and Sabrina the teenage witch , they were my life. So going into this book was solely based on the fact that it’s about witches and the history behind the famous *Salem Witch trials* . I have to say that this book receives a lot of bad reviews on goodreads but I enjoyed it, the writing-style was excellent a
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
SO boring!!! If this book hadn't been recommended to me there's no way on earth I would have kept going. Until the last quarter of the book I could've put it down at any time and never given it a second thought. I thought much of the imagery was over the top and some of it just plain stupid. For example, saying a man in court looks like he smelled of burnt leaves. What is that? Books should paint a picture. Not only do I still not see the picture, it distracted me from the book. Or calling the c ...more
This book felt like it was intended for middle-schoolers; pedestrian writing, uninteresting characters, and a connect the dots plot. The historical sections sounded like they came straight from Wikipedia.

Connie is contradictory and rather dim. One minute she barely remembers her grandmother, the next she vividly recalls a holiday with her. I could have overlooked that, if the story had been more convincing.

I am beyond baffled by Connie's inexperience with the library at the college she attends.
Jun 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I didn't expect this to be good, but neither did I expect it to be THIS BAD. It drives me nuts when people get HUGE book advances and media attention for such sloppy work. What did her editor even DO if she didn't catch the numerous dumb things that don't make sense in this book? For example, 2/3 of the way through, the heroine has to find a book in Widener library at Harvard WHERE SHE HAS BEING STUDYING FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS and doesn't know how to find it and has to ask the librarian why it' ...more
Jun 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'll admit, I picked this book up in the New Fiction section of my library based on the title and the cover (great design). Based on the description and the excited blurbs (by author's I've never heard of, I'll admit) I checked it out hoping it might be something like A.S.Byatt's very literate, very suspenseful Posession. Boy was I mislead. It reads more like a weirdly misguided YA novel (misguided in the thought that the average YA reader would be interested in the academia). The writer really ...more
Donna Craig
Jan 28, 2022 rated it liked it
A few days after I finished it, and I had a hard time remembering the basics of the book.
Connie is a PhD candidate who had a family member convicted of witchcraft in Salem. She goes to clean up the house her mom inherited from her grandmother, and discovers some evidence. Which leads her to search for a “physick book,” which would contain healing recipes and would be an excellent source for her thesis. Only someone is interfering. And strange things are happening.
This book just wasn’t anything
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, book-club
Where I got the book: purchased on Amazon. A Sunday in the Park book club read.

The plot: Harvard grad student Connie is assigned by her mother to clear out her grandmother's house, and discovers her connection to the Salem Witches.

I was, on the whole, underwhelmed, which is what happens when you pick up a book that's touted as a Brilliant Bestseller! Spooky! Bedeviling! and find that the writing's that of a newbie writer, good on the important points of grammar and generally stringing words toge
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Angie Fisher for TeensReadToo.com

Connie Goodwin, like many young women, has issues with her mother. So when Grace asks her daughter to interrupt her doctoral research at Harvard to go to Marblehead for the summer and ready her grandmother's house to be sold, Connie wonders why she agreed.

And that was before she walked into the ancient cottage that has no electricity.

Connie's knowledge of Colonial history, her chosen field of study, comes in handy as she learns the secrets of the past
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009, witches
I thought this book started so slowly. I enjoyed the "Interlude" parts but thought the whole process Connie was going through was boring. Once she was at her Granna's house though the book picked up for me. I've always been interested in the Salem witch trials and found myself lost in those parts of the book. ...more
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Katherine Howe is a #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer of historical fiction and nonfiction. Her best known books are The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2009 and was named one of USA Today's top tend books of the year, and Conversion, which received the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award in young adult literature. In 20 ...more

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