Everybody loves a good spellbook, and I was hoping that The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe would put a spell on me. After all, it has those good New England elements of briny sea air, Salem witch trials, a long-abandoned colonial home complete with Queen Anne furniture (!) and a dimly brilliant Harvard graduate student (female!) who is searching for a swell topic for her thesis. Okay, I can work with that, but don't push my buttons. Oops, the author just did.
Connie, our Harvard heroine, appears to take life as it is without much questioning. But inquiring minds want to know: Why are there luscious tomatoes growing on the overgrown, vine-covered property of her deceased grandmother (Granna) whose house Connie must tidy in order to sell it? Why is mail still being delivered to this abandoned house and why is it on a table in the house when Connie first arrives? Why doesn't Connie notice the cold, hard stare and increasingly maniacal control of her thesis advisor? Why does Connie have visions of the past as if it's the present and not run to see a neurologist or at least question her apparent talents?
So, now I am about half-finished with this book (exactly where you'd expect me to be) and I am ready to make some predictions! Can't say "spoiler alert" because, hey, they're just my predictions.
Prediction #1 - the garden is magickal, of course, perhaps under its own spell! Did Granna have something to do with this? We don't know much about Granna yet except that she left behind a whole mess of bottled herbs and potions in the kitchen, plus a significant clue, a key with Deliverance Dane's name attached to it. Which leads to....
Prediction #2 - Connie comes from a long line of women with paranormal abilities! Her mother, a Santa Fe resident, can see people's auras, Granna grew all those herbs and put up all those bottles, and Connie has the ability to see visions from the past. Deliverance Dane, the 1691 character accused of witchcraft, had a daughter, Mercy, who also practiced the healing arts like her mother. Mercy in turn had a daughter, Prudence, who was a midwife. All this leads to....
Prediction #3 - Connect the dots...Connie is the umpteenth generation of females from this "bewitched" line of Deliverance Dane's!! Sounds good, at least.
Prediction #4 - Connie better get her aura in order because I think there will be trouble brewing with her thesis advisor who is probably reptilian and maybe even Beezlebub himself! He seems to be mighty interested in finding Deliverance Dane's book of healing/magick recipes. Meanwhile, Connie has developed a crush on young mister handsome and helpful who just happens to have a master's degree in preservation studies. How nice for her!
Let's see how all this turns out! More later.