In Howe’s first novel published the story centers on Connie, a grad student from Cambridge, as she uncovers mysteries surrounding her grandmothers home. Connie’s mother insists that she take care of the house -do some summer cleaning and prepping for the sale of the abandoned home. At first Connie dislikes the idea of spending her summer handling the estate, but when she finds a mysterious key and a piece of parchment with only the words Deliverance Dane tucked inside a bible belonging to her grandmother, she becomes enthralled with finding the source. Able to link the words to a rare physick book, she uncovers some of the mysteries, but only opens more secrets, deepening the mysteries.
I bought this book without any recommendations. I was standing in Barnes and Noble, head slightly cocked to read the spines of books as I passed slowly, and the word “physick” stuck out. Used to seeing the word as physic, I thought it was an interesting misspelling. That word alone resonated multiple meanings, drawing up for me things like medical because of “sick,” something physical and something psychic. So when I grabbed the book and revealed the cover I was pleased when I was further intrigued with a decorative cover, evoking something eerie, something magical. At this point I was set on making a purchase and I have to say the book was every bit as entertaining and interesting as the cover and titled suggested. I particularly enjoyed the flashbacks to the the Salem witch trials. It is a story within a story and both are very well laid out.