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This is the story of a Boston based professor of colonial history, Connie, and her familial connection to witchcraft and the price that comes with it. After learning about a curse that threatens the life of the man she loves, she races to solve a mystery that generations of women before her have failed to resolve.
I found all of the characters likable and relatable. Connie and Sam have a beautiful and understanding relationship that I think anyone could envy and the friendship between Connie and Liz is strong. There were times when Connie frustrated me with her secrets, but I like a character I can get annoyed with and still love in the end.
Some of my favorite scenes were the interactions between Connie and Grace, and the other mother/daughter relationships that show up in the book. You could see the strain caused by the long family secret but could tell they had deep love and respect for each other.
Clever Explanations and Historical Parallels
There were many times while reading this book where I stopped and verbally chuckled at the cleverly placed explanations. I love the way Howe hid definitions or historical information in Connie’s mundane academic activities as a history professor so readers wouldn’t be lost when she flipped back to the past to share the stories of Connie’s relatives.
As someone who hasn’t attended University (yet!), I appreciated the world building that took place with Connie’s academic life. The talk about dissertations and grading papers and the different relationships with her colleagues reminded me of the lives of Connie’s ancestors and the monotonous activities of their daily lives. I like that the mysticism was minimal and costly, and the important thing was the simple everyday living.
Katherine Howe writes the exact type of book I like to read. It’s a bit historical with elements of romance, mystery, and the supernatural all rolled into one beautiful, witchy story. As a fan of the Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, I was excited to jump back into the world of Connie Goodwin. I love that Howe wrote this is as a self-contained novel instead of an outright sequel to the first book. She does a good job of summarizing events here and there so new readers won’t be lost but also answers some of the burning questions that were left to mystery in the first novel.
Even though this book has action, history, and magic, at its core this is a story about family and relationships. I love the strong female friendships presented in this book, as well as the generational history of Connie’s family. The final act is beautifully executed and I learned quite a few things from history that I didn’t know before. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is still my favorite book from Katherine Howe, but this one didn’t disappoint.
What did you think of Katherine Howe’s new novel? Did you read the Physick Book? Let’s discuss!