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The Lost Book of Salem Paperback – 25 Jun 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (25 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014103811X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141038117
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Flows with charm and eloquence while concocting a gripping supernatural puzzler. Katherine Howe's talent is spellbinding' - Matthew Pearl, of the number one bestseller THE DANTE CLUB

About the Author

Katherine Howe's family has lived in the area around Salem Massachusetts for generations dating back to the 1620s. She is a descendant of two accused Salem witches - Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe. Katherine is a PhD candidate at Boston University.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Pyewacket TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Connie (Constance) Goodwin is a PhD Graduate at Harvard having just sat through a rigourous oral exam to get her Professorship. First though she must find something to write her Post Doctoral thesis about. She settles on American Colonial History.

It is the end of the Semester so now she has a lot of time to carry out her research but she is constantly pushed by her Mentor, Manning Chilton. When she gets a phone call from her "new age" Mother she finds herself being shoved in another direction that of renovating her dead Grandmother's old cottage and garden. Much to her dismay the cottage is really run down so she has to set her Thesis to one side for the time being and concentrate on cleaning the cottage up. Whilst she is looking through an old Bible, a hollow key falls out of it. Inside the key is a tightly rolled piece of paper bearing the words Deliverance Dane.

She finally pieces together a sad story that takes us the reader back to 1692 to the Salem Witch Trials.

She also meets a young man called Sam who she falls in love with. As she delves deeper into her research she finds that her family had connections to Deliverance Dane who was hung as a Witch. Chilton Manning keeps bothering her and it's only when Sam has a serious accident that everything falls into place. Someone has cursed Sam and it is up to Connie to lift the curse and find out who put it on him. Will the book of 'Receipts'help her?

This was such a good book I read it all in one sitting. It was well researched and you could feel empathy and sympathy with the characters. Incidentally all the so called Witches in 17th century Salem were real people but I don't believe they consorted with the Devil.
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Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely amazing - I wish I could give it more stars!

The story of modern Harvard PHD student Connie researching her thesis on American Colonial History is interwoven with the story of Deliverance Dane, a 'cunning woman' caught up in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Throw in a family legacy of accidents befalling the men in the line, a latin scholar room mate, a bohemian puzzle of a mother, a delicious steeplejack boyfriend and a nutty professor and the story is complete.

The story is at once an historical mystery weaving it's tantalising way through a family secret and also a spellbinding, unbelievable, wonderous story of magic, good, evil and misunderstanding. The worry and superstition of the pre-scientific era is dealt with sensitively, illumiating both the perceived and the very real threats facing the God fearing Salem Villagers of that time period. In addition, the level of detail in terms of the modes of dress, the furniture and the inticacies of the daily life in 1692 is absolutely fascinating.

I started it yesterday and could not put it down - I've wasted all wekend reading it in long sittings, stopping only for lunch and the odd cup of tea! - The writing was beautiful and the pacing of the novel was extraordinary, adding to the suspense. You were more than willing to suspend your disbelief when reading this novel through the skill of the author Katherine Howe.

Well worth reading. Wow!
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Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback
I heard a real buzz about this book before it's release. I saw a few people state it was their favourite book of the year, so I wanted to get in on the action - it arrived through my letter box on it's release date a few weeks ago.

I can see why people love it, but although I enjoyed reading it, it won't make it on to my list of favourite reads in 2009.

The Lost Book of Salem is set during the Salem witch trials of the 17th century Massachusetts, and also in 1991, where Connie, a history graduate is studying the trials. Connie finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane in an old cottage that belonged to her grandmother, and begins to investigate the secrets hidden in the cottage and in her family history.

The book is packed with 17th century atmosphere, and there are some really good spooky scenes - I especially loved the discovery of the mandrake! The historical sections were well written and had obviously been meticulously researched.

Unfortunately not everything was amazing. I found the central modern character, Connie, very irritating. She is supposed to be a history graduate (22-years-old?) but she behaved more like a 14-year-old. She just seemed slow. I don't think there was a single mystery in the book which she managed to solve before me, and some of them were so straight forward I don't know why they were mentioned. Here is an example of one of the worst offenders:

"Connie raised her head, thinking. What was a 'witch-bottel'? Bottel. A phonetic spelling of 'bottle'. A witch bottle."

Overall, it was a gripping read, full of interesting facts about the history of witches, but it didn't quite live up to the hype.
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