Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not So Magical

Anyone interested in Puritain-American history, or the Salem Witch Trials, would appreciate Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  In it, PhD student, Connie, is supposed to be working on her dissertation proposal over the summer when her mother asks her to clean up her deceased grandmother's abandoned house.  As she begins, she discovers the name, Deliverance Dane, and a secret key--all of which leads to a book-length investigation in search for the identity of Deliverance Dane, and her so-called "physick book".  Howe moves between past and present:  Connie's present-day search and the historical setting of Salem, Mass during the 17th century.  The latter is most interesting, as we learn a variety of new and insightful details about the Witch-trials.  And while the overall work is entertaining, it possesses too many flaws (flat characters, hokey magic and cliched romance) to be as scary as I had hoped it to be.