Several years ago I read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and was completely enthralled by it so when I heard that the author had written a sequel I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs was released at the end of June and as soon as I got my copy I devoured it.
Here’s what the publisher says about the novel: “New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe returns to the world of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane with a bewitching story of a New England history professor who must race against time to free her family from a curse.
Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows. When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.
Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.”
As I’ve said, I was delighted to discover that a sequel to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane has been written and I found it easy to lose myself in the new novel. It was satisfying to catch up with Connie Goodwin and her partner, Sam, a decade after the previous book ended. I also enjoyed discovering what had happened to several supporting characters from the original book. The author has a knack for creating very believable characters that I feel as if I know personally.
In this latest novel, there is a fascinating dichotomy between Connie’s life in the rational world of academia and the mystical one the women in her family inhabit, and the author thoughtfully explores the internal and external conflicts that this poses for Connie and how she reconciles the two worlds.
Using the history of New England, the author deftly weaves several plot threads together to tell a convincing story of past and present, and the mystical and the mundane: the lives of the women in Connie’s ancestry and the experiences of Connie and her mother; as well as the supernatural struggle to break an ancient curse and the day to day challenges that Connie’s relationships with her partner, her mother, her friends and her colleagues pose. I was captivated by all the threads within the story and had to keep turning the pages to find out what would happen.
The author’s extensive knowledge of New England shows in her detailed descriptions of Boston and the New England countryside. Connie’s grandmother’s house is so vividly evoked that it feels real. The author’s skilful use of the settings is one of the elements that makes this novel a convincing story.
I eagerly anticipated getting my copy of this novel and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters that almost step off the page and the superb plot make it a gripping read and I recommend it without any reservation to anyone who enjoys a good story.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Katherine Howe: She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass, as well as the 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 over twenty languages. Descended from three women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, she and her family live in New England and New York City, where she is at work on her next novel.