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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

40 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

I waited for this to become available at the library and when it was finally in my hands, I could not stop reading it.
The story alternates between the Salem Witch Trials and Connie Goodwin's, present day pursuit of her PhD at Harvard.
As Connie pursues her dissertati...
I waited for this to become available at the library and when it was finally in my hands, I could not stop reading it.
The story alternates between the Salem Witch Trials and Connie Goodwin's, present day pursuit of her PhD at Harvard.
As Connie pursues her dissertation and researches a dissertaion topic, she is drawn to her own history in Marblehead and the links that her grandmother and mother, Grace, have to the past.
Connie begins to look for an old physick book that purportedly belonged to Deliverance Dane and while trying to find the antiquated book, she finds that she may have some exceptional witchy talents of her own.
If you have been to the Salem and Marblehead areas, there is such a sense of history there and one can really believe that the magical might exist today.
I totally enjoyed the book and recommend it highly.

posted by Tidbitsofscott on September 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

29 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

Would probably be a good beach read

First, the good: I really liked the cover, especially the back flap that can be used to mark your page. A nice extra touch! I also think this book would be a great choice if you're looking for some escapism reading this summer. It's a fast and easy read that doesn't req...
First, the good: I really liked the cover, especially the back flap that can be used to mark your page. A nice extra touch! I also think this book would be a great choice if you're looking for some escapism reading this summer. It's a fast and easy read that doesn't require much effort on the reader's part. It would be a nice book to take to the beach or the swimming pool.

Now, the bad: I thought the plot was very predictable; you can tell well in advance what is going to happen. This, unfortunately, turned me off the book early on, as I'm a person who likes to be surprised when reading this type of mystery/thriller book. Also, I did not find the main character very believable, mostly because she's a smart person yet misses so many obvious clues.

However, even though the book was not a hit for me, I'm glad I read it since I do think it will be a very popular book:-). It's always fun to see what all the hype is about. Thank you Barnes and Nobles First Look program for including me, and thank you to all (including Ms. Howe and the editor) who made it such an interesting discussion!

posted by kren250 on April 10, 2009

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    Even teenage girls won't like it.

    Where should I start? The one-dimensional charachters? The transparent plot? The hackneyed writing? From page one you will be able to see exactly where this novel is going, and when it finally arrives, you will not care. The most convenient set ups include: (1.) Connie's college roommate just happens to be a latin professor. (2.) Connie's love interest just happens to me a handyman with a masters degree. (There are tons of those running around these days.) (3.) The nefarious "Harvard History Department Head" believes in magic. (4.) Connie doesn't realize her connection to past witches, forgetting her full name for the entire novel - Deliverance, Mercy, Prudence, Grace, and finally Connie a.k.a. Constance. I could keep going, but none of it matters. It shouldn't take you more than an afternoon to read this, and you won't remember what you read two days after you've finished.

    18 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    I can't believe B&N is pushing this book so much

    Interesting premise, atrocious writing. As I was reading, I couldn't help but think that Howe used a thesaurus to insert bigger words that were more dramatic than the story called for. The characters were difficult to sympathize with because the writing was so clunky and the plot was not believable.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    A huge letdown

    I am six chapters into this book but will probably not continue reading it much longer. I had heard so much buzz about the book and was so excited to get it but have found it to be a huge disappointment. The writing, itself, is embarassing but I was hoping that perhaps the story would be worth it. So far, this has not been the case. There are too many other books out there waiting to be read to spend much more time on this one waiting for it to become interesting. I will give it four more chapters and then it's history -- no pun intended. This book cannot even begin to compare with "The Heretic's Daughter".

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Ughhhh....

    I haven't been able to get past the first chapter of this book. It appears to me that Ms. Howe enjoys tooting her own horn when it comes to the use of the english language. It doesn't flow. She's wordy, too descriptive and most definitely self-absorbed. Anyone can see that right off the bat. The most attractive thing about this book is it's cover, the one thing that grabbed me from the start. I DO intend on finishing it, but I can tell it will be a HUGE waste of time, and unfortunately money...wish I had read the first paragraph before jumping into this purchase...

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    Hated it.

    I was sorely diappointed in this book. I expected more from a B&N Recommended. The writing was forced and awkward, the characters and dialogue ridiculous and I almost killed myself trying to finish it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Overly hyped, very disappointed

    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 forward to receiving my copy and when it arrived, I was delighted with the beautiful cover and feel of the book. I began to read it right away.

    I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion, the story is continuously stretched beyond the breaking point into silliness. This pseudo-memoir of the author's journey through the education system was full of stereotypes. In my opinion, the author perpetuates misconceptions and misinformation, not only about those innocent victims of hysteria but about the education system, Wicca, abilities that transcend current science, and people in general. This left me irritated and vaguely offended.

    This book's hype probably contributed a great deal to my disappointment. If all I expected was a light fanciful read just to amuse me, this probably would have been ok. But I expected a lot more and those expectations were not met. Fortunately for the author, others like this book and will encourage others to buy it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Plodding Plot; Hideous Accents; No Historicity

    I had to struggle through this thing. I am from NE and couldn't bear the attempt to mimic the Boston accent. For anyone with a brain, this book really stretches the believable. The city of Marblehead would allow a house to just sit there infested with weeds and falling down for 30 years, with taxes unpaid? It just gets worse from there. All these plants surviving in the back yard uncultivated for years? Deliverance Dane was a real person. She was accused of witchcraft along with her two sisters in law (one of which, Abigail Dane Faulkner, escaped the noose because of pregnancy), but never indicted, tried or hung. So much for historical accuracy. The author is running around the country and indeed the world selling this book partially on the basis of her alleged descent from Elizabeth Howe, yet when you read the prologue carefully you find out that she is not actually descended from Elizabeth Howe, only "connected", not a genealogical term recognized by anyone. So, she's promoting this book based on a falsehood.If you know the actual history of E. Howe you will learn that the author took the Deliverance Dane name and attributed the witchcraft accusations made against her "ancestor" E. Howe to Deliverance Dane. Howe was accused of poisoning the Perley child, not Deliverance. Ironically for those of you who are actually interested in the history of the event, someone named Chadwick Hansen wrote a book called "Witchcraft in New England" (George Braziller: NY, 1969) which claims that E. Howe actually was a witch. The worst thing to me is that a lot of people will come away from this book thinking that the Salem witches actually practiced witchcraft, and not just folk magic like herbs and stuff, but real "summoning the devil" black magic. One reviewer on another board said after reading the book that he thought the Salem witches deserved to hang. I love historical fiction which is based on history and fills in the gaps, so to speak, but doesn't distort history. A great proponent of this is Tracy Chevalier who wrote The Unicorn Tapestries, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, etc. She sticks to what's actually known about her subject and embellishes what's not known. You learn from her books, as well as being entertained.
    Finally, the whole thing is just silly. The stereotype of the Boston Brahmin professor is overdone. The depictions of Harvard academia don't ring true. As mentioned before, the accents are unbearable. It's hard to believe the author is actually a PhD candidate anywhere, let alone one in "colonial history" [?] at BU.
    If you want a good read about the Salem witch trials that's pretty close to the truth, though not 100% accurate, read "Heretic's Daughter."

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2010

    Dissatisfied

    I made it through the first 150 pages in hope for it to become exciting...total disappointment...I finally put it down due to no captivating plot. Absolutely boring!!! Very dissapointed with this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Seemed promising...but...

    Really wanted to like this book. The subject matter could have been better utilized. Shallow characters, predictable plot, bordering on tedious plotlines. Ugh. Main character is supposed to be a doctorate student at Harvard but was so poorly characterized that she came across as dimwitted. It was a chore to struggle thru chapters of mundane idiocy for her to figure out plot points that to me were glaringly obvious. I kept expecting a "gotcha" twist at any moment, hoping that the plot and characters weren't as dull as they seemed. Unfortunately it never came. What a disappointment this book turned out to be. B&N better pick their Recommendation selections a bit more intelligently or they're going to lose credibility.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    PhySICK

    In no way should the author's arbitrary adherence to historical accuracy be misunderstood as a refreshing take on an otherwise exhausted subject. In fact, if she HAD managed to refresh the historicity of the subject I might have been able to overlook some of the other failings but since she didn't, she just reported to the reader, I cannot. The plot is achingly predictable. The characters are ridiculous. I've never seen so many stereotypes in one novel before! If this book hadn't ALSO been the subject of the author's dissertation I would have questioned if she'd actually been to graduate school, or the New England.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    GAG. I don't know a better word to describe this book than chees

    GAG. I don't know a better word to describe this book than cheesy. The author seems to know the applicable time period well enough, but that's the closest I can come to a complement regarding this atrocity. The dialogue reads like a bad teenage novel, the characters are annoying, and the story too unrealistic: from the narrator, a PhD student that, at best, acts like an idiot college freshman, the Harvard history professor that believes in bona-fide hokus pokus, and the pierced, ponytailed boyfriend who seems to have more history knowledge than the aforementioned professor. The hunky dory ending scene was nothing but cheese, high-fives and all. Pass on this one unless you like bad YA novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Cvu

    Tgvg

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't bother!

    Worst list of characters in a book ever. They were so poorly developed I actually began to cringe as I read the thought processes of the main character Connie, who was quite possibly the stupidest person I've ever had the misfortune to read about. I've been reading non-stop my entire life and I've never come across a protagonist I hated more.
    A few reviewers have cited the interesting historical portions of the book, but unless this is the first historical novel you've ever read on witch hunts, you won't find any new revelations or insight here. Try "The Last Witchfinder" by James Morrow for a better understanding of historical witch hunting at the dawning of the Age of Enlightenment, or if you prefer the mystery/suspense aspect "Sings the Nightbird" by Robert McCammon. Both novels are far better written, plotted and character-developed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Awful

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Ugh too

    I even hate to give it a star
    It is a bore.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Ugh this book!

    This was so lame and boring would not reccomend

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    Disappointing

    I had to fight to get through this

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not my kinda book

    Sorry this is not my kinda book. After 14pages I figured it out and deleted it
    Bye Bye

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    I have a question for you part two lol

    Oh and just ignore my spelling im not very good typing on my nook

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Worst book in tha world

    I hate this book so much!!! Uuuuuuuugggggghhhh!!! To many big people words! Hahaha k

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