If you like a bit of witchy lore woven into your historical fiction, then you will devour Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane ($10). The book follows two women who are separated by a span of three hundred years; one is a cynical Harvard grad student searching for a worthwhile dissertation topic and the other is struggling to clear her good name amidst rumors of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. The narrative leap frogs gracefully from a steamy summer in 1991 to the puritanical derisiveness of the late 17th century. Chapter by chapter Howe expertly weaves the two stories tighter and tighter together as the mystery of how these women are connected becomes both more apparent and complex. Howe conjures fascinatingly tactile images and engrossing characters with her straightforward but beautiful prose. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the kind of book you miss subway stops while reading - it pulls you in and you are glad to be there.
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