Connie is a graduate student in American History. She is searching for an unique primary source for her dissertation. She finds it in her grandmother's house. A key wrapped in paper with the name Deliverance Dane written on it. She sets off on her quest to find out more about Deliverance Dane, and find her physick book. Along the way we learn more about who Deliverance Dane was, and what her role in the Salem Witch Trials was.
This was one of the books I read for my Historical Fiction course. I really liked the idea for this book, that perhaps someone accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials was actually guilty of witchcraft. I did not think this story was conveyed in the best way. I did not like the dual story--Connie's in the 1990's and Deliverance's in the 1690's. I found it jarring to go back and forth between the eras, and for me, it interrupted the flow of the story. I would have liked it better if it had only been Deliverance Dane's story.
Because I was distracted with going back and forth in time, I didn't feel engaged in this story. It didn't feel like it was real with some of the fantastical elements, and moving between the two stories prevented immersion in the world, which would have made some of the fantastical parts more believable. It also prevented the level of character development I would have hoped for. I would recommend reading different stories about the Salem Witch Trials. I am interested to try Howe's Historical Fiction book: The House of Velvet and Glass, because I want to try her writing when it focuses on one story, in one time period, and find out if that helps me enjoy her writing.