Flashback Friday: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

My Flashback Friday pick this week:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
(published 2009)

This week’s book just barely makes the 5-year requirement for Flashback Friday!

Synopsis (Goodreads):

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.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

Katherine Howe’s first novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, delivers in so many ways! In part, it’s the story of an intelligent woman pursuing an intellectual puzzle as she attempts to move her academic career forward. It’s also the story of this woman’s search for hidden truths about her family’s past. As Connie uncovers clue after clue, we see family history unfold in one generation of remarkable women after another — until the past finally collides with the present in shocking and unexpected ways.

I really enjoyed the balance of the historical and modern elements of the story, and the academic setting works well in combination with an exploration of mysterious forces and powers. Readers who were captivated by Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches may want to check out Deliverance Dane as well!

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

12 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

  1. I found this book randomly at a mass-book sale once, and picked it up on a whim (I usually try to stay to my wishlist, or else I end up with too many “extras” on my shelf). I really enjoyed it as well, and I agree about the A Discovery of Witches recommendation. Have you heard of her new book coming out, Conversion? I’ve been iffy about adding it to my list, it seems to be more YA than this book was.

    • Conversion was my WoW book this week! It is YA — but since I’ve read the author’s two adult novels, I’m interested in seeing how she approaches a different target age (and thought it sounded really good). I really liked her other novel as well, The House of Velvet and Glass, although it was very different.

    • I read this one before A Discovery of Witches, and was definitely reminded of Deliverance Dane at that point (although — spoiler alert! — no vampires in DD) 🙂 Thanks for sharing your link!

  2. Love this idea! I’ve been kicking around the same thought lately, and I was actually going to use Fridays as my throwback. Brilliant! I’ve just started blogging/reviewing, so it’s nice to see other book lovers are thinking the same things I am. Can’t wait to check out more.

  3. I have had this on my shelf FOREVER. Sounds like I need to dig this out and put it on my read soon pile. 🙂

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