The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Physick book 

My Amazon Vine review of this book is up on their website.

I don't often have to pan books, but this one irked me no end. The dialogue made me want to beat my head against the wall. Such sloppy writing.

Could any book about the Salem Witch Trials be a slog? I wouldn't have thought so. I'm so, so disappointed. Cover blurbs always inflate the quality of a book. Every now and then they get it right, praising a book that deserves it. But this one is obviously not cheap for the publisher, and that's why they've gone to great lengths to promote it by having Matthew Pearl (The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow) write a long, glowing review on the back cover.

They're banking on this one hitting it out of the park. Good luck with that.

I've read and reviewed so many books, I can tell from the first paragraph how I'll like it. This one was so attractive. It felt so good in the hand, but I knew immediately how I'd feel about it. I despise wasting time on bad books. Had this not been a review book for Amazon I'd have tossed it into the "donate to the library" pile immediately.

Drat.

7 thoughts on “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

  1. I was disappointed by this book as well…it looked so good, but completely underwhelmed me. Hated the New England accent in the dialogue.

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  2. Wendy, using an accent is very difficult in writing fiction. It annoyed me in this book, too. I’d say it’s better just leaving it out completely, because it really wears on the reader. That’s a tough call.

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  3. Were you disappointed by the dialogue in general, or the use of dialect in the dialogue? I wasn’t crazy about the dialect, and the dialogue was… mostly, it was just unrefined. It reminded me of how I used to write dialogue when I was a new writer (back in jr. high & high school), because that’s how all the books I read then were written.

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  4. I can see why that would be annoying, and as a New Englander: “not all New Englanders have accents”. Just certain areas.
    I have this book to read/review as well, but I will not be able to get to it this month.

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  5. I felt much the same as you did about this, very underwhelmed. Glad it’s not just me, the dialogue was driving me nuts, it’s so clunky.

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  6. sara m

    thank you for voicing what I was thinking! I enjoyed the historical aspect and the premise, but lordy me! the romance in/and puerile tone made me cringe.

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  7. Ann (same as Deliverance's mother)

    I found the dialect annoying as well, but my main gripe with the book was the totally fictitious account of the life of a real person. I am descended from the real Deliverance’s brother Abraham and, knowing that Deliverance had been accused, have been trying to get more information about her for years. This book muddies the water considerably. The only thing Howe got right was the name of Deliverance’s husband. Everything else was wrong: age, place of residence, children, and especially the facts that she was never tried, had two more children after she got out of prison, and lived to the ripe old age of 81. If the author wanted to make up a story about a Salem witch, why not choose one of her own relatives?

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