A descendant of three women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, Katherine Howe has a passion for the twisted history and persecution of all things mysterious, feared and magical. Besides her personal connection with the subject, Howe has written with the authority of a scholar on the subject as editor of The Penguin Book of Witches, a collection of real-life accounts of witches from medieval to colonial times.
A New York Times bestselling novelist, Howe has also taken her breadth of knowledge and applied it creatively, writing occult and historical fiction for young adults and adults. In The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Howe’s bookish protagonist Connie Goodwin is a Harvard graduate student sucked into a dark and winding adventure when rummaging through an abandoned family home near Salem yields some unusual objects. The discovery of an ancient key and seventeenth-century Bible leads her on a search to find the owner, the enigmatic Deliverance Dane. This quest ultimately leads her to an item of even more astonishing history and power, Deliverance’s physick book. Using this book, Connie discovers her connection to these witches of the past and realizes her own supernatural abilities.
Now, in Howe’s sequel, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs (Henry Holt and Company), Connie has more at stake than ever before. Connie is a respected assistant professor at Northeastern University with a specialization in the history of domestic healing arts and the women who who demonstrate expertise in these skills. She’s on track to achieve tenure at a young age, an admirable feat, but one that can only be accomplished if she makes her book deadline. Balancing the book with her regular duties of grading and advising graduate students is an all-consuming job. Her academic life has started to creep into her personal one, so important things like sleeping normal hours and keeping up with her boyfriend Sam inevitably get put on the back burner.
However, when Connie realizes she’s pregnant, Sam quickly moves to the forefront of her attention for two reasons. First, her pregnancy makes her appreciate Sam for the supportive partner he is (despite her quirks) and deepens her commitment to be with him. Second, due to a family curse, Connie’s baby puts Sam in fatal danger.
Connie’s mother hints that when any of their ancestors has given birth to a girl in the past, their partner usually mysteriously passes away not long after. This rattling comment is verified with Connie’s own research into the unsettling trend. The one exception to this rule seems to be Temperance Hobbs, but Connie has no clue why. Now Connie is in a race against time to find out all she can about Temperance’s life and her complex work with the natural forces to save Sam.
Connie’s tale is punctuated with accounts from her ancestors and their own brushes with life and death. These sections heighten the importance of Connie’s mission and also give us imaginative glimpses into the lives of some of society’s most interesting women, both respected and feared for their differences. Magic, romance and adventure all beautifully blend in Howe’s latest historical thriller. If you read the first installment of the series you’ll enjoy picking up with familiar characters, but the book can be easily and enjoyably read as a stand-alone. However, if this is your first Katherine Howe book, it won’t be your last. You’ll be under her spell soon and want to pick up as much as you can from this gifted writer.
Sinfully addictive, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs is available for purchase.
ABOUT KATHERINE HOWE:
Katherine Howe is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass, as well as two young adult novels, Conversion and The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen. She served as editor of The Penguin Book of Witches, and her fiction has been translated into more than twenty languages. Descended from three women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, she now splits her time between New England and New York City.