Review The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
A historical fiction novel with great potential, but fell a little short of my hopes based on the amount of time spent in the present day. Connie, a history graduate student, is in search for that all important subject for her dissertation. Her mentor/adviser has strongly alluded to the need to find a new undiscovered primary source for her dissertation. He has made it very clear that he is expecting something new and groundbreaking and not a rehash of existing documents. She sets out to enjoy the lazy days of her summer and explore her ideas mom calls with a change of plans. Despite her strained relationship with her odd-quirky mother, she agrees to her mother's pleas. Those pleas are a desperate call to clean-out her grandmother's house, her grandmother died twenty-years prior. Can you imagine what state this house is in, it has sat untouched for the last twenty-years?
Begrudgingly Connie set-out to unearth her grandmother's house. She arrives to barely find the house as it is so overgrown with vegetation and has become dilapidated in the growth you need a homing device to find it. Better yet, granny didn't have much use for modern day conveniences in the 1970's, at times you will even have to remind yourself of Connie's limitations based on the present day being 1990's. We don't all walk around with smartphones in our pockets to quickly search out information on the internet, even cell phones in general are a novelty and thankfully Howe refrains from equipping Connie with 21st century capabilities. In the midst of her attempts to scratch away the layers of dirt, she disrupts a book and sends a key clattering to the floor. What is unique and mysterious about this key lies in the hidden parchment contained with-in with a lone named written on it .. Deliverance Dane. Curious yet, Connie is and sets out on a quest to discover who Deliverance Dane was, why is her name written on a slip of paper hidden in her grandmother's house?
The parts set in the 1690's had the most interest for me; I just wish more time had been spent in this time-period versus the modern day. The parts set in the 1690's are well written, and the research behind them allows Howe to capture the time-period. That being said, the story does tie together with the present day; it is not a case of being disconnected between the stories. The storyline was still enjoyable and had mystery and intrigue to it, although some was a bit predictable.
[Notice: Original posting 2014-02-03 at Plethora of Books Blog: http://bookchallenges.weebly.com]
Tags: Historical Fiction, 2013