Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane


FEELS: liked, moody but modern, shippable

downloadMy book club is discussing The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe this month. It’s been on my To Read list for several years so I was glad to have an excuse to get a copy. As a descendant of Ann Putnam, I’m a sucker for books about the Salem Witch Trials – I devoured books like Tituba of Salem Village as a kid and I thought the concept for this novel by Howe was really cool.

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.

Description from

I liked the contrast of the modern day story mixed with the historical stuff. The chapters featuring Connie read like a young twenty somethings chick lit novel complete with love story featuring a Type A girl who studies too much and probably wears her hair in a too tight pony tail and a tall, lanky laid back guy who teaches her to relax and have fun. When she isn’t falling for him, she spends time roaming the halls of Harvard and the streets of Salem and the descriptions of each made me miss my New England home and college days often.

In contrast, the chapters telling the stories of Deliverance and her family were warm and descriptive, drawing you into the time period and the stories of these women. They read very authentically and would be well enjoyed over a cup of warm tea and dimmed lighting. As the book went on, the two plots become more and more entwined and the “modern” chapters become gradually more and more magical.

Occasionally I felt the book bordered on unrealistic, not because of the mystical elements so much as the character’s reactions to things – when things started to get more and more supernatural in Connie’s world, I found it strange that she wasn’t freaking out more and even stranger that her friends and love interest weren’t freaked out either. But putting that skepticism aside, I did enjoy the story and looked forward to spending time with it each night – the real mark of a good book in my opinion.

What have you been reading lately?


Our Weekend With Tacky the Penguin

Story time with Tacky

Last weekend Tacky the Penguin, the Kindergarten Class Penguin, came to spend the long weekend with us; a real treat as the other kids in her class only got to spend one night with Tacky, she got four!

Her teacher asked me to take pictures and if you know me, you know that was a dangerous thing to ask of me. I took at least a dozen. I sent her the best four and I’m sharing my favorite five here – a glimpse at Tacky’s very busy weekend with our family.

music lessons

BB taught Tacky all of her favorite princess songs on the keyboard my SIL got her for Christmas. You know Tacky will be humming that Beauty and the Beast song for days now – it’s just so catchy!

karate lessons

Tacky insisted on coming to see MM’s karate lessons that weekend. He was very impressed with MM’s sparring skills and cheered from the sidelines with gusto. I think he’ll be signing up for lessons soon – he’s a very well rounded Penguin.

snack time

Of course when it comes to manners, Tacky is no novice. He knew that the best house guests always bring a gift, preferably an edible one. He brought along some delicious penguin colored cookies to share with the family – one for everyone!


After a busy day of playing and learning, these two were tuckered out. BB built a “fort” for them to sleep in together and they rested up for another day of fun.

Thank you for being such a wonderful guest, Tacky, you were a delight to host: you tidied up after yourself, barely made a peep and never spoke back when we asked you to do chores with the kids. Come back anytime!