The Lost Book of Salem

The Lost Book of Salem

3.9 2045
by Katherine Howe

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Viking Penguin
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 2045 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
kren250 More than 1 year ago
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!
soullight More than 1 year ago
I was enthusiastic about this book. I had heard so much about it. It was slow and the only thing worth reading was Sam's accident. I wanted so much more. I wanted Connie to learn so much more about her family history that ran in the feminine side. Learn more of her gifts and about her mother Grace. I was disappointed, when I finished it I felt empty.
Readsalot45 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was excited about this book b/c it encompassed many things I am interested in. Great locale, interesting time period, witch trials. The book started strong, but felt it dragged out too long. You could predict the ending about 100 pages before the end.
jeanniejeanne More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I'd been in a reading rut---too much of the same things, nothing seeming new. I saw this book at a friend's house and read the cover and headed right out to buy ti. I wasn't disappointed. I loved the way the story of the past was woven together with the present (1991). I enjoyed the character of Connie, and laughed at her mother. I was captivated by the story of the past. I could picture everything the author wrote. I recommend this book.
AJIN More than 1 year ago
There are so many little errors that I find so distracting. From the first page when the writer calls the soup lentil and then split pea (two entirely different legumes) to a hidden yard with a flourishing garden despite not being tended for 20 years, it just seems a bit forced.
NearPerfect More than 1 year ago
An examination of the "Salem Witchcraft" times. A look into the past with a twist. Very, Very enjoyable. Great for a Bookclub and I sent 2 as presents to different friends. I am sure they will enjoy the bits of history and the quest to understand an ancestor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started reallllllly slow, and it took a lot of effort to read and get into, turned out to be a good book, but you really have to try and get through the first few chapters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the first half of this book but, once modern magic came into the story, it totally lost me and left me disappointed. It was a bit slow during certain chapters and felt overdone most of the time. Many aspects were very predictable and felt a bit forced. I was really hoping there would be more historical facts but ended the book feeling as though I knew nothing more about the witch trials than when I started. Wouldn't recommend it.
JulieC82 More than 1 year ago
I was excited when Barnes and Noble First Look Club presented Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The as their next choice. I was even more excited when I was able to read the book. This is a stunning debut novel. The Salem witch trials have always fascinated me but imagine realizing that you were related to one of those condemned and hanged. Connie Goodwin is a a Graduate student that has just passed her oral exams and will be starting her PH.d. Her mom calls and tells her that she needs a favor, she needs Connie to go to her family's home in Marblehead and get it ready to sell. This is the beginning of Connie's adventure into her personal history and the history of the Salem Witch Trials. Not only do we get to know Connie's story but we get to meet Deliverance Dane and her family. The book shifts back and forth between present day (1991) and history (1692-1715) which allows the reader to begin to put the puzzle pieces together before Connie. I enjoyed reading the different voices of the story since it spread over hundreds of years. You definitely get a real sense of the time period by the way Ms. Howe describes the clothing, the home, the furniture and the attitudes. I love authors who are very descriptive without being wordy and Ms. Howe is definitely one of them. I could vividly picture the house on Milk Street, the Salem Meetinghouse, Deliverance's house and Harvard. Without these descriptions the book would have fallen flat. The supporting characters are just as interesting as Connie. Her mom Grace is a trip, Sam, Liz and of course Arlo the dog. My only complaint is that the climax came in the last 50 pages and ended too quickly. We were there and then it was over. I guess I didn't want the book to end. There are aspects of the book that are predictable but that didn't bother me because of the story and the way it was written. For fans of Charmed: The Complete Series, Harry Potter Boxset Books 1-7 and The Craft (Special Edition) you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If not, it's still a fantastic story about a period in American history where things that weren't true to their religious beliefs were deemed witchcraft. It calls into question what is witchcraft and how does it different in the time periods explored in the book? This book has made me want to go and pull out my copy of Arthur Miller's The Crucible (Penguin Classics) and revisit this time period. This book will be released by Voice on 6/9/09. I recommend adding it to your wish list.
Fyrehaire More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this novel, as the cover art and the story premise on the jacket blurb were intriguing. However, I found the writing to be forced and the plot terribly predictable. The interweaving of past and present was well done and worked well for this story. Unfortunately, the author wrote this story more like a research paper with a fictional twist, as opposed to a well researched fictional story. The language, especially the descriptions, tended to be cluttered with an over abundance of detail, which strangled the prose's flow and made reading tedious at times. Overall, not a horrible first effort; but I was disappointed in its wasted potential.
MarieBurton More than 1 year ago
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a mouthful of a title, isn't it? The unique title and cover of this book is an eye catcher, and this book early on has created a stir in the virtual world. Barnes & Noble used this book as their First Look title in April, (it boasts 4.5 stars here) where they hosted a forum for Q&A with the author and discussed the book which was all very interesting. You can follow along here on the web: B&N Board The title itself is referring to a "recipe" book, or a book of spells or magical ideas (that has yet to be found in the USA), that once belonged to a person named Deliverance Dane. The main character of the book, Connie Goodwin, is a highly intelligent grad student who is asked by her hippie mom to go visit the old abandoned house in Marblehead, MA that the granny left behind. The house is stuck in time, forgotten by overgrowth and enveloped by shadows and Connie's task is to clean it up and prepare it to sell so that they do not have to pay the taxes on it any longer. Connie doesn't know much about the house, and she is in for a treat of dirt and dust and grime, yet immediately she finds a key hidden in an old Bible which starts her journey to find out the connection between this key and the horrendous times of the Salem Witch trials. The subject matter has always been popular and Connie does not have much trouble finding information in the town regarding the people that were affected by the Salem Witch Trials. Connie also meets a gorgeous guy along the way, and the romance adds a bit to the story while making Connie a little more human to the reader. Otherwise, Connie is truly out of my league with her big college words and exhaustive knowledge that she likes to recite regarding the history of the Salem Witch Trials. Thankfully the author is talented enough with her prose that we do not feel that we are imbeciles. Connie's advisor for her Ph.D. is a character that also adds to the story, as he adds a bit of creepiness. (I certainly didn't like him!) The plot is very intriguing, and the events are as fast-paced as they can plausibly be, with the added benefit of flashbacks to the very period of the 1690's that Connie is researching. Here we get snippets of a narration from the Dane family themselves, and a look into a witch trial as it occurs. It was not disarming at all to read the dialect of the Massachusetts citizens, where it would phonetically present itself such as "here" replaced by "heah" which I really think added to the nuance of the story. There was the factor of predictability in the story, but the author captures us in the moment as we root for Connie to uncover the mystery. As mentioned, Connie is supposed to be quite intelligent, and the reader understands the underlying story more than she does due to the flashbacks we are privy to, so that can be a drag for some people. Connie's advisor also helpfully calls into question "What if the accused really were witches?" which goes against most of the modern thoughts on the subject. I enjoyed reading about the Salem Witch Trials, although not really learning anything earth shattering, but since it was such an easy and fun read I recommend this to anyone in the mood for a good novel. It was a fascinating part of our American History, and the fact that the author herself is a known descendant from two of the main figures of the history made this a compelling adaptation of it.
LivetoRead765 More than 1 year ago
This book was an unexpected surprise as I found the author to be the subject. It seems in writing the book she discovered herself. The style was back and forth from past to present and I enjoyed it so much as she found her self and the past of her family within her own research for the book. Believeable and totally enjoyable.
springermph More than 1 year ago
The idea was great but I don't think it ever got around to exploring the idea fully-what if the accused women of the Salem witch trials were really "cunning women". And what would be the ramifications of this interpretation of history? Howe leaves much of this unexplored and instead has us follow Connie through her life as a graduate student. Connie's research was very fluffy and it seemed like she just kept getting lucky in her leads. One would think a PhD candidate should have more solid skills. The interludes from the 1690s are what I enjoyed the most. Howe did a wonderful job describing what was happening and really made the character's stories jump off the page. When it was time to return to Connie's story, I would become a bit disgruntled. The story was also predictable. I couldn't tell if it the author wanted to go in the direction of a feminist account of the Salem witch trials, a soft thriller/romance, or a fantasy filled with spells and unexplained happenings. I found myself not believing that Connie could heal or was able to do magic because she was a skeptic the entire time. I thought this part of the novel was very forced and thrown in at the end. This book was just ok, boring actually, and it took some effort to get through it.
snowflakeinannapolis More than 1 year ago
This was a referral from a friend in the industry and I was so disappointed. I love the idea and the time period, but the book just wandered into cliched territory instead of being the fresh point of view that I hoped it would be.
Lisa_in_SoCal More than 1 year ago
Wow! Awesome first book by Howe. Even though it's about the Salem Witch Trials, it's a unique perspective on the story. Intriguing because it's told through the research of a grad student. Very intellectual and compelling. Gets a little crazy in the end, but in a few, hold-your-attention kind of way. Can't wait to read Howe's next!
J3nnif3r8 More than 1 year ago
It's cliche, but true, I couldn't put this book down! The book jacket alone made me want to run home and start reading. Connie, the main character, is easy to empathize with since she is a graduate student dealing with the drama of a thesis, unrealistic professors and their expectations, and an "out there" mother. Each of these demanding aspects become even more weighted on Connie when she has to clean out her late grandmother's home while just beginning her research. Her foil, Sam, is a great male character who really helps the reader to understand her character. Connie finds a key and a name inside a seventeenth century Bible in her grandmother's home and the story begins. The name "Deliverance Dane" leads Connie to meet Sam, unmask her professor's true motives, and discover her hidden talents and family lineage. Bringing in historical facts from the witch trials, the author creates a fictional story for the women who suffered in 1692 from the accusations of the bewitched girls. The only complaint I have is that the key that is found in the Bible is never used to unlock anything. It seems to be forgotten about. Besides this trivial fact, the book is well written, stylistically, and made me want to find out the significance of the name found in the book. It is a great read when you want to get lost in seventeenth century New England.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
misbumble More than 1 year ago
The book promised a great mystery and hooked me from the beginning. Unfortunately- that was the only strong point of the book. The reading became laborious and the ending was, in a word, ridiculous. I felt insulted by the conclusion that seemed to just be tacked on the end to force a conclusion. In a word- skip it.
AJCronin More than 1 year ago
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".
janners7 More than 1 year ago
This book is a nice try for a first novel; I found the plot engaging and interesting for the first 2/3 of the book. Connie is going for her Ph.D. in American Colonial history. She also, after defending her thesis, finds herself the new caretaker of her grandmother's house, close to Harvard. She finds a key with a name, Deliverance Dane. This key leads her on an adventure while she discovers who Deliverance Dane was and what her life was like. I liked the book, but it was clear from the family history section of the novel where the story was going. I felt like Howe didn't know how to put an end to the novel, so she gave up and the result was mediocre. Still, a good.
austinWI More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The characters will keep you entertained and it really is good for a rainy day. I have never been interested in this type of fiction before but Katherine Howe does an excellent job of really keeping you absorbed in the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those who like history, witchcraft and other sorcery, this is a wonderful book. The characters and storyline are woven between current and past, real and surreal. The book is an easy read and hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Witchcraft, a "used and abused" subject matter. . . . . in this case used successfully. A well written book, fortunately not too predictable. Good entertainment.