Sunday, January 31, 2010

We Have a Winner!

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe. Awesome book. I'm not too into the Salem Witch Trials (really, who is?), mostly because I find it kind of scary. But I'm starting to suspect that I'm a fan of academic intrigue-type books (cf. Allegra Goodman's Intuition). I'll take recommendations for more of those, if anyone has them.

This book was a treat. It was both tense and leisurely, modern and historical, exciting and satisfying. I can't seem to explain it without making it sound like it's something it isn't--it has supernatural elements, but it's not science fiction or a ghost story or anything. It has historical interludes and a running plot in the past, but it's definitely not an historical novel.

I think I liked that some parts of Connie's life went well while others were troubling. I liked that, while there was a lot of tension, there was no police-involved, run-for-your-life pacing. It's not a grand, sweeping story, nor a small story. It's a nice, medium-sized story.

The plot--for the curious--revolves around a Harvard history grad student who's been called upon to fix up and sell off her late grandmother's crumbling house in Marblehead. She ends up on the trail of the titular Physick Book, or spellbook. The details of academic research (just enough of them, not too many) are engaging. I like the tension around academic politics and striving. There's a young man, and a distant but loving mother.

This is not my most eloquent review--I'm sick right now and going to go lie down ASAP. But I wanted to share this, because I enjoyed this book so much.

And now, finally, I'm starting Children of God, and so excited about it. Tally-ho!


JMLC said...

Hope you feel better! I'm not reading as much now which is sad for me- between trying to get the work done before maternity leave and being so tired, it's just not happening- but I'm adding this one to my to read list...

Brenda Pike said...

You convinced me. It's going on my Amazon wishlist.