"The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane" is the debut novel for Katherine Howe, but you'd never guess that from reading it! This is a solid, well written, captivating book. I found myself swept up in the story, and I didn't want to put the book down!
Connie Goodwin is a Harvard graduate student who is caught up in the pressure of the academic world and needs to come up with her doctoral dissertation. Her focus is early American history, and her mentor is pushing her to find a new piece of source material to write her dissertation from.
While Connie looks for her topic, she's being distracted by her own family's history, and how it's currently invading her life. While Connie is the ever practical academic, her mother is more a free spirit, and her mother has just informed her that they own her long dead Grandmother's property. Oh yes, and they owe back taxes on it. So it's up to Connie to go clean the old property up during the summer, when she should be researching, so they can sell it and pay the town the money they owe.
The house is more of a mess than Connie could have envisioned, she's fascinated by it's 1700's architecture and furniture, but she's also at a loss on how she's ever going to sell a place that's never electricity installed.
Her two worlds, academia and family, begin to collide when Connie discovers a key with the words "Deliverance Dane" written on a small scrap of paper inside. This sets her on a hunt to discover just who this woman was, and why her name would be in her Grandmother's house. As she searches she learns more about who she is, her family legacy, and she meets a man who she quickly begins to fall for.
The story unfolds by jumping back and forth from Connie's modern day struggles, and going back and taking us into the world of Deliverance Dane and the witch trials of the 1690's. This is a work of fiction, but the details and theory's are so well crafted that you'll easily forget that!