Monday, 12 April 2010

The Lost Book of Salem - Katherine Howe

Connie Goodwin is pursuing an academic career at Harvard and keeps her feet firmly on the ground.  But when her vague, new age mother asks her to clear out her grandmother's house in the New England town of Marblehead, Connie makes a discovery that will change her life forever.  When she finds the name Deliverance Dane written on a small scroll of paper shoved into an old key hidden in the family bible, her research takes her back in time to the witch trials that were held in nearby Salem in 1692.
When she is offered an exciting new academic position by her professor, Manning Chilton, he hints very firmly that he wants her to discover a new source of reference for her historical studies, one that has never been used before.  Connie becomes very excited when she finds out that Deliverance Dane was directly involved in the Salem Witch Trials, and that she had used a spell or 'Physick Book'.  Determined to track down Deliverance's book, Connie's research leads her into the arms of Sam, a handsome young steeplejack who is restoring an old church in Salem, and straight into the path of danger.  It seems that Connie is not the only person who is desperate to get their hands on Deliverance's spell book, and it is only when Sam's life is put in danger that Connie realises to what extreme lengths she is going to have to go to keep him safe.
The Lost Book of Salem is interesting in the way that the modern day story is intertwined with the story of Deliverance Dane and her daughter and grandaughter.  The story skilfully weaves between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, and it isn't until the end that Connie realises how much these stories of the past are connected to her and her family.
A good book for the summer, and maybe serve it up with a glass of cold beer and a hotdog!

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