Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Reviews and Giveaways!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe: History grad student Connie Goodwin has a busy summer ahead of her. Fresh from passing her oral exams to continue in the Ph.D program at Harvard, she is under pressure from her adviser, Manning Chilton, to make progress on her dissertation and her mother has asked her to prepare her grandmother's house for sale. Connie finds the house in much worse shape than she had expected, but she finds a way to combine her two summer jobs when a crumbling book reveals a strange key containing a slip of paper with the words "Deliverance Dane." Connie discovers that Deliverance is a forgotten Salem witch, and sets out to investigate her history, as well as to find her spellbook, which would assure her academic success. While researching, Connie meets handsome Sam who is very interested in her research. The story shifts between present-day Connie's research and the stories of Deliverance and her descendants with ease, and I found the seventeenth-century portions to be very well-written and engaging. Connie's story is quite a page-turner as well, as her research leads her from one clue to another, Chilton becomes more and more fervent in his insistence that Connie find the spellbook, and Sam falls mysteriously ill.

This is an excellent summer read. I love fiction that also teaches me something, and I learned quite a bit about seventeenth-century life and the Salem Witch Trials. Connie was engaging, if a bit slow on the uptake at times, and I thought the supernatural element was handled okay. There were two "revelations" that I thought were perfectly obvious, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. Anyone involved in academia will enjoy the portrayal of grad student life, and anyone interested in research will enjoy Connie's slow but steady uncovering of facts. I wonder if this book were pitched to the publisher as "The DaVinci Code meets the Salem Witch Trials," but it's far better written than The DaVinci Code, and I think it stands on its own quite well. It avoids the high body count/number of explosions of Interred With Their Bones (which has a similar past/present setup, but deals with Shakespeare). It's a breezier read than The Historian, which I thoroughly enjoyed but would certainly not haul to the beach! I recommend this to anyone interested in the Salem Witch Trials, fiction with a touch of the supernatural, or fiction based on historical research--it was a fun, gripping read!

Available June 9.
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Holly here. :-) I really enjoyed this book too! I am prone to liking most books that have something do with witches either in a fictional/supernatural way or historically speaking. For some reason this subject sort of fascinates me. Like Allison, I felt like the book moved back and forth between the two time periods with ease. I also saw the revelations as quite obvious, but no less entertaining. I really enjoyed the scenes set in the library and various archives, but that's my museum geek side coming through. Overall, this was a very entertaining novel as well as interesting!

Now, as much as I think most people would like this book, there were couple things that bothered me. Not enough to really take away from it for me. They are quite piddly but bothered me nonetheless. The author made a habit of phonetically writing out the old Boston accents of some of the characters. This sort of got on my nerves. I would rather have her describe the accent and then just write the conversation normally leaving the accent up to my imagination. I've seen enough movies to know what that accent sounds like. It just sort of slowed my reading down.

There is also a tiny bit about alchemy toward the end. I won't say too much more about that because I don't want to give too much away. But I sort of rolled my eyes. Perhaps, I just tend to be drawn to treasure hunt/puzzle/mystery type books so that I read an overabundance of books with a slant toward alchemy as a subject (The Alchemist/Michael Scott, The Eight, The Fire/Katherine Neville, The 39 Clues series, and I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting about). But I think I'm growing tired of the subject. And I sort of felt like it didn't have to be in this book. Maybe Alchemy is just an en vogue subject right now? Who knows. Just my own personal gripe that really doesn't have anything to do with how this book was written or what other people might think about the book. And really this section is quite short and a somewhat insignificant side story. Hopefully my knitpicking won't deter anyone.

I think most people who pick this one up will find a thoroughly engaging read!
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And now for the giveaway. Holly and Allison each have an extra ARC of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane to give away! This contest will only be open to the U.S. and Canada (with apologies to international folks - we'll have more worldwide giveaways in the future!). For one entry, tell us your favorite summer read. For three more entries, follow this blog publicly (of course, current followers count!). For another three entries, blog about this giveaway. There's no need to post each entry on a separate comment, but do give us the link to your blog entry, tell us how you follow, and make sure we have a way to reach you (if your profile has an e-mail address, that's fine). Entries are due Wednesday, May 20 at 9:00 a.m. EDT.

49 comments:

eidolons said...

This book sounds great!

My favorite summer read is the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. I never fail to get completely caught up in her world.

I follow your blog and read an rss feed through livejournal (http://syndicated.livejournal.com/hollybooknotes/profile).

I'm about to go write off a line about this giveaway on my journal: http://ki.livejournal.com

Whee!
eidolons AT gmail DOT com

LuAnn said...

I love summer reads and this does, indeed, sound like a great one!

bridget3420 said...

I don't have a favorite summer read... I'm a follower.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

MJ said...

I love Susan Wiggs for fast, fun summer reads.

I follow.

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Pissenlit said...

I've never actually understood the term "summer read" so really, anything good I come across during the summer would probably be it. :D

Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted this on Win A Book. Don't enter me.

Anne said...

My favorite summer read is any mystery or scifi book, the more suspense the better.

nbmars AT comcast DOT net

Zia said...

I would love to read this book. I don't have a particular summer read book. I read whatever is in my ever growing pile of books. I blogged about this on my sidebar and also a follower.

Zia

ziaria(at)gmail(dot)com

Janel said...

I love cozy mysteries in the summer, especially when they are also set in the summer with scenes at the beach or a fair.

I am now a follower!

I blogged about this in my right sidebar at:

http://janelsjumble.blogspot.com

Ash said...

This books sounds really intriguing. When you said you learned something while reading this book, I immediately wanted it :)

I usually read whatever I can get to during the summer, but I do seem to have a habit of reading the Harry Potter books in the summer.

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

nfmgirl said...

Hmmm. I don't really have a "favorite summer read", but one of my favorite books is Swan Song by Robert McCammon.

I'm a follower.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Rachel said...

This book looks so good! I live in the town next to Salem and the witch trials have always interested me.

Thanks for the giveaway! I follow on my google reader.

Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

Kitten22 said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

My favorite Summer reads are the Sisterhood books by Ann Brashares. Perfect Summer reading.

I'm a subscriber (through Google Reader)!

BookCrossingKitten22[at]gmail[dot]com

Marie said...

I'd love to read this book. It sounds great. My favourite summer reads are cozy mysteries or chick-lit.

I follow your blog via Blogger's follow function.

Thanks.

Cheryl S. said...

My favorite summer read(s) would be any of the Harry Potter books. They're quick reads & pure fantasy.

Please count me in - Thanks!
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

traveler said...

What a great novel. My favorite summer book would be a family saga which is captivating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Becca said...

I don't really change my reading habits by season but when it is hot I am easily distracted so I go for something light and fun.
I blogged about this here:

http://completepoppycock.blogspot.com/2009/05/summer-reading.html

thanks
rebecca.bradeen(at)verizon(dot)net

Holly said...

I don't know that I have a favorite summer read. Perhaps something I've already read that is familiar and easy to read. I've never considered liking or reading certain books at certain times of the year.

Oh, and I subscribe in Google Reader.

Indigo said...

This summer I plan on reading the James Patterson "Maximum Ride" Series I won. The six books should fill in my spare time nicely over the summer.

Thanks for this opportunity. This book sounds like it's right up my alley and would fit in nicely would my summer reading. Indigo

ravensquietscreams@gmail.com

Belinda M said...

I have not started reading them yet but my list for this summer would include both Made in the USA and the Girl Who Stopped Swimming. I have them both waiting for me just to open the up and start.

"Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
CoolCanucks.ca"

gaby317 said...

I really enjoyed this book and thought your review was spot on!

No need to add me to the contest - thx!

BMoLMo said...

My favorite summer reads tend to be those of the chick lit variety, although I throw in some heavy topics here and there.
I would love to read this one.

l-morrissey(at)hotmail(dot)com

quelleheure4 said...

It sounds excellent.

My favorite summer read is anything chicklit! Easy reading, fun and entertaining!

I follow you through google reader!

quelleheure4[at]gmail{dot}com

mindy said...

sounds awesome thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

kathy55439 said...

I am hoping to do a lot of reading this summer... not sure which book I will start with....

Sandra K321 said...

I enjoy historical fiction novels most and romance novels least. Right now my summer reading list includes Shades of Gray and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Sandra K321 said...

I just added you to my Google Reader.

guru said...

Currently I am reading "The Choice" by Nicholas Sparks. It seems like every summer I re-read Skipping Christmas by Grisham. Only in July can I even begin to imagine really skipping all the hoopla of the holidays.

tutugirl said...

I have to say, having little ones has kept me from reading much more than a magazine. Now that they are a little older, I'm not ever sure what will interest me. This looks like a good place to start.

susan said...

SEEMS like a great read for the beach

Tiffany819 said...

My summer read currently are the books in the Twilight Series. Thank you for the giveaway

I also follow your blog

Tiffanys819 at gmail.com

Kelly said...

Oooh, sounds like a fantastic read. I love anything to do with history!

My favorite summer read... hmm. I'd have to say Slightly Single by Wendy Markham. It's something I've read for the past couple summers and plan to bring out again this summer! Fantastic start to a series, too. :)

krtrumpet [at] aol [dot] com

heatherzilla said...

I am currently reading the Sookie Stackhouse series. These books make for a good summer read - perfect for the beach or lounging in the back yard.

jemscout425 said...

my favorite summer read was ann rice's witches series
pksanddancer@yahoo.com

jemscout425 said...

follower
pksanddancer@yahoo.com

Bonnie in FL said...

this book sounds fantastic my summer reading so far is boring reading up on canning and freezing fruits and veggies and how to make a sucessful compost pile

ferriz said...

As much as I hate to say it every summer I like to see how many of the Harry Potter books I can get through before summer ends. Its been a tradition since the books came out.

ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

techyone said...

This book sounds interesting. I'd love to read it. My summer reads are anything I get my hands on.

techyone at gmail dot com

Belinda said...

Boy Meet Girl by Meg Cabot is a great Summer read.
Thanks!
1bmore @ gmail . com

Nickolay said...

I always like to read the adventures OF Huckleberry Finn in the Summer

jason@allworldautomotive.com

Tea said...

I would love to read this book. I would love to win it and write a review. I enjoyed your review.

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this. I love reading Diana Galbadoon's Highlander Series!

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

Deedles said...

My favorite summer read would be anything by Nora Roberts.

jwx4 said...

So far my favorite summer read has been Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris.
jwx4 at yahoo dot com

Sarah Z said...

I love reading funny stories - like chick-lit or Stephanie Plum!
Thanks
Sarah
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

wendy said...

My favorite summer read is always the latest from either Stephen King or Anne Rice.

madamerkf at aol dot com

Llehn said...

My favorite summer read is Bridget Jones's Diary.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Marie said...

My favorite summer read is usually something light -- either chic-lit or a cozy mystery.

marielay@gmail.com

Katherine said...

Love sappy romance novels for a juicy summer read!