4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ,
This review is from: The Lost Book of Salem (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read; the story is fascinating and very original, the characters excellently developed and real, and the historical background great.
Connie Goodwin, a graduate student of Colonial American history at Harvard, is looking for an original subject for her research, when her unconventional, new age mother asks her to renovate and sell her grandmother's house near Salem. Connie is amazed by the old colonial house and its magical garden, but her academic interest is captured by an old key with the unusual name of Deliverance Dane inside an old Bible, so she begins to research this strange and yet very familiar woman from the past. Her research takes her to the famous witch trials of 1692 and as Connie investigates her subject and traces a mysterious book, she learns more about herself and her family than she could ever imagine. The story takes place in present time 1991, but as Connie unfolds the story of Deliverance's book, short interludes take us back to the past and we get glimpses of the reality of these amazing women whose lives were linked with this special book.
Katherine Howe has created a fascinating and gripping plot enriched with vivid details, probably drawn from her own academic knowledge of colonial history and also her heritage as she is a descendant of two accused Salem witches; Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe. The main character, Connie, is one of the best developed, complete and believable characters in literature I have ever come across and her interactions with all the other characters of the novel, as well as the way she deals with her academic research and her growing understanding of herself are excellently presented. In addition the short interludes of the past are so well written, with amazing historical detail and vivid descriptions, that it is almost as if the reader is there witnessing the events. Sadly, these interludes are very short and we only get glimpses of the past, thus personally I was left wishing to know more about these women, to be part of their lives and to get to know them better. However, that is exactly what happens when we research the past and I think that this longing to look more deeply into the everyday lives of all these women and to know them more, a longing known only too well to anyone who researches the past, adds to the story and makes Connie even more real and familiar.
This book is truly a page-turner and I highly recommended it!
This book is also published with a different title as The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane .