Monday, June 8, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe + Contest!

Pub date - June 9, 2009 (Happy Release Day, Katherine!)

Connie Goodwin should be spending her summer doing research for her Ph.D dissertation in American History. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she's compelled to help. One day, while exploring the dusty bookshelves in the study, Connie discovers an ancient key, and within the key is a brittle slip of paper with two words written on it: Deliverance Dane.

Along with a handsome steeplejack named Sam, Connie begins to research Deliverance Dane. But even as the pieces fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of long ago, and she fears that she is more tired to Sa
lem's dark past than she could have ever imagined. (inside book blurb)

Proof that NaNo novels can get somewhere. Not all are crap! Actually, a fair number of them would probably be publishable if people didn't query them in December, but that's besides the point. This is a hell of a dense book to write for NaNo. Methinks either Howe just winged it on the first go or researched like hell before she started. Granted, this is her expertise so I'm sure a lot of the knowledge was already at her disposal.

It's been quite a while since I've read a non-YA book, just purely from a format standpoint. I'm all used to GO-GO-GO! when the rest of the published world sets about at a more leisurely pace. The MC is 25 so she's definitely relatable to a younger audience although she's a bit more . . . advanced than, say, I was at 25. She's a grad student after all. That's a whole different level of education and sophistication there. And at Harvard no less. I doubt she had much of an option. Plus she's very logic and science minded, something I can definitely relate to which was probably why I toughed out the beginning.

Which was pretty slow in going. Initially I couldn't help but think, what with Connie sitting her orals and spouting off historical facts that it was the author inserting her own intelligence on the matter into the story. I've seen it before. But the more I read on, the more I realized that Connie's area of study and her knowledge all play vital roles in the story being told and unfolding on the pages. It made sense adn just wasn't showboating on the author's part.

I do think the descriptions were superfluous and a lot of the tension that should have been there was bogged down in words. At times I couldn't help but wonder, even for a grad student, if Connie would think in such terms considering we're reading from a third person POV. But the story being told, and the history, overrode that. Or made it more bearable anyway.

I'm a bit of a history freak and Salem just happens to be one of my *squee* areas of history so being able to see this historical story that's juxtaposed to the modern mystery going on was fascinating. We're able to see Salem not only through the eyes of an accused witch but one that wasn't originally on the roster. More liberties could be taken with her life (although the person was real) and the emotions of what was going on were definitely running high.

I wish the two stories, the one of the Dane women and Connie's, could have been woven together a little better. Yeah, the timeline and the telling made sense but it was a story that Connie never learned. Not the one we're told anyway. The reader knows far more than the MC and I'm not the biggest fan of that but it was a good story nonetheless.

Despite the heavy scientific (although not threatening, I would have chucked it if it was sterile reading) and logical basis to the story, there are some very fantastical elements about it that, to say the least, shock the shit out of Connie. Here's this real-world girl that doesn't believe in hokum and it's all happening to her. And her mother! So blase about it all. And for good reason. The curse of that family kind of sucks though. Should you read the story, you'll pick up on the one similar circumstance happening to each generation of Dane women. Very sad.

So if you have the patience and feel like dealing with slogging through some overwrought description, you'll end up with a pretty good story about a girl who comes into her own, a mystery of history being solved, a very nutty professor and just a hint of philosopher's stone. Not to mention a bit of romance and some very real magic. This is the type of book you just really want to relax with. It forces you to slow down and read it thoroughly, savoring the words and the tale and then it kind of pushes you off the cliff at the very end but it's worth it. Yeah, I like this one.


So you've read my review and now you can have the chance to judge for yourself. I have two ARCs of this book that are ready and willing to be won (and maybe I'll throw in some BEA swag for good measure). You know you want one just for the pretty cover. ;) All you have to do is comment with a means to contact you on this post. If you're up for it, answer this question (it's not mandatory to enter)--

What's your favorite part of history?

For extra entries--

+1 for new followers
+2 for current followers
+2 for a direct link or post to this contest (be sure to post the link)
+3 for referring someone (be sure to name them)
+3 for being that referred someone (be sure to name your referrer)

Contest is open to US residents only and will end on Monday, June 29th at midnight, EST. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Hope springs eternal for my NaNo based novel.

Unknown said...

My favorite part of history would have to be the 80's. LOL.


Unknown said...

Already a follower


Unknown said...

Linked on my sidebar


Cindy said...

How exciting! Favorite part of history: 80's :)
+2 already a follower


Unknown said...

eypgtians time

Cindy said...

Already a follower!

The Lovely Reader said...

Enter Me Please!

+2 for current followers
+2 for a direct link or post to this contest (be sure to post the link)

The Lovely Reader said...

Oh, shoot, I forgot my email. It's

barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Max Brown said...

This book sounds really cool!!! Sort of Da Vinci Codish. In a way. I like that kind of thing. I have a few periods in history that I found really interesting. One is waaaay back - early hominids and cavemen and that sort of thing. How they migrated and where and why and sort of the transition between animals and actual civilized people. Also - this one is kind of random - but I was always interested by the Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade by the Roman Church. I don't know why that one stuck out, but I was intrigued by it. And not many people know about it. Generally, though, I like U.S. History. I like Civil War stuff. It feels sort of relevant. And that's probably more than you ever wanted to know about my taste in History. But there you go. (Salem witch trials are always interesting too. I went to Salem and the museums and stuff, and I've always been really interested by that, but I've never really learned about it in-depth. I hope I will, though.)

+1 I'm a new follower.
+2 I posted and sidebarred the contest.
+3 I was referred by Readaholic.


Max Brown said...

Oh yeah. I forgot. My email is


Jacqueline C. said...

I'm a new follower!


BN Book Blog said...

We both love the Tudor court. We've been following!

Beth & Nathan

Unknown said...

Looks like a good read, please enter me into this drawing.

I'm also a recent follower of your blog.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

Unknown said...

I've also blogged about this giveaway here.


L said...

My favorite part of history is the 90's.

I'm a follower.

I blogged about it here:


Paige said...

My favorite part of histories in the Victorian era. :)
+ I'm a current follower.

Anonymous said...

email is speckldharted22(at)aim(dot)com

my fav part of history is the 70's! DISCO!

Amelia said...

I'm a new follower and I'd love to be entered in your contest!



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