TITLE: THE LOST BOOK OF SALEM
AUTHOR: KATHERINE HOWE
Details: Published in the US as
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
I've come to the conclusion, that it's probably best to come to a book without any expectations. I had heard and read lots of very enthusiastic comments about this book before I started it, and therefore expected quite a lot.
And, this book has a very interesting concept. Connie Goodwin is using her summer holiday away from Harvard to clear out her grandmother's cottage, getting it ready to be sold, while she's also trying to decide on a topic for her dissertation.
Soon into the cleaning process Connie finds a mysterious piece of parchment with the name Deliverance Dane on it. Intrigued, Connie decides to find out more about the name and the person behind it, only to find herself discovering unknown facts about her family's past, the Salem Witch trails and herself.
Once she discovers that Deliverance had a spell book that might still be around somewhere she doesn't only have an interesting personal quest on her hands, but also a potential research subject. The discovery also leads to danger and a centuries old curse that only Connie can stop if she can find the book.
Like I said this is a very interesting premise for a story, and in places the book certainly lived up to its promise. But, in others it didn't.
I found the main characters in the book rather two dimensional, and never really got a feel for their motivations, feelings and characters. I also thought the book was a bit too heavy on the ins and outs of academic research, which slowed the story down too much for my liking at times.
It is almost as if the author didn't quite know what to do with the story. It's not quite a book about research and personal discovery, and it's also not quite a paranormal adventure story. It's a bit of both with neither aspect developed enough to completely satisfy me.
Still, I did mostly enjoy the story, and have therefore rated it a 4-.