Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge. As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.
This is a very detailed book. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is the descriptions bring everything to life. The bad thing is that sometimes the story and plot get lost in the details. It does not help that the plot seems really slow at times.
There were two parts of the story that stood out to me: Connie and Sam’s relationship and the interludes of Deliverance Dane’s life. Sam was my favourite character. He was funny, sweet, and seemed to come to life. Deliverance seemed to come to life for me too. It was an interesting look at life in the 1690s, and the Salem witch trial in particular.
Overall, this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was a fascinating story, albeit a bit slow. I learned some facts about the Salem witch trial and life at that time. I would recommend it to fans of historical fiction.
Challenges read for:
2012 Audio Book Challenge – book 2
2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge – book 8
Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012 – book 5