There have been several theories on the cause of the Salem witch trials of 1692, ranging from the oppression of women to moldy bread. In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe dares to ask the question “What if there were women guilty of practicing witchcraft?”
Connie Goodwin, a Ph.D. student, is spending the summer cleaning out her grandmother’s house in Marblehead, Mass. when she discovers a mysterious key with the name “Deliverance Dane” curled up inside it. Armed with her love of research, she sets out to discover what this means, uncovering centuries of secrets about an ancestor she didn’t know existed.
Interspersed with Connie’s story, Howe gives us glimpses of the lives of Deliverance Dane and her daughter and grandaughter, exploring what it may have been like to live through the trials and how the following generations would have continued to face judgement long after 1692 was over.
This book is a fascinating mix of magic and mystery. It contains enough creepiness for an October read, but that is balanced by the life details of Deliverance and Connie. It calls to question the line between healing and witchcraft, the possibility of things we don’t understand, and if good and evil are always what they seem to be.