The Lost Book of Salem Paperback – 25 Jun 2009
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'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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had bought this book a few years ago now and was quite annoyed when I realised I had bought the same book twice, as it was republished under a different title. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Skaty Katie
This book has kept me guessing as to what or who is the bad guys and good guys it has been interesting to read and I will follow up to read more about the Salem witches.Published 22 months ago by ELIZABETH ANNE DAVIES
Connie [Constance] Goodwin comes from a line of witches though she doesn't know it. Her historical research at Harvard leads her back to the witch trials in late 17th century Salem... Read morePublished on 18 May 2013 by gerardpeter
I read this book ages ago and decided I wanted it again,bought a used copy,it came in lovely condition,with speedy delivery,more than worth it and a cracking read!!Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by Kindle Customer
Oh now I did enjoy this. I picked it up in our charity shop, read a couple of pages while waiting in the carpark and what do you know? Couldn't put it down! Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2012 by Wendy McFarlane
I would describe this as an nice little read. It is not an great thinkers novel but an enjoyable light adventure, flicking between the main characters ancestor Deliverance Dane in... Read morePublished on 18 Sept. 2012 by Mrs. Helen Skelton
The novel isn't even worth me wasting any more of my time over than I already have through reading it. Read morePublished on 6 Aug. 2012 by Moondog