Monday, December 28, 2015

#collaboreads: A Friend's Favorite

When I saw the prompt for this month's #collaboreads book, I decided to pose the question to my Facebook friends.  I received an overwhelming response...and look forward to reading many of the other suggestions eventually!  I narrowed it down to the book my friend Michelle recommended for two main reasons - it sounded intriguing and another friend also commented that it was a good one!  I ended up having some time to connect with Michelle when I was home for Christmas in Kentucky so we snagged a fun photo with her copy of the book then!

What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?

The book had two parts with a mix of chapters split between Connie's story set in the 1990's as she works toward her doctoral degree at Harvard and the history and lineage of Deliverance Dane set in Salem during the late 1600's.  The stories were both interesting, but the overwhelming detail made parts of the book difficult to move through quickly.  This book involved far more thinking on my end than I anticipated it would when I read the synopsis.  I really loved the story of Deliverance Dane though.  Connie's story wasn't quite as appealing to me...and sometimes even seemed a bit far fetched.  I wish more of the book had taken place in that 1600's era.

How did you relate to/care for the characters?
What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?

I really loved Mercy (Deliverance's daughter).  There were a number of passages that focused on her relationship with her mom and dad that I found to be quite interesting.  I also really liked Sam (Connie's love interest) though I was shocked by how quickly they became an exclusive item!  Liz (Connie's roommate) and Grace (Connie's mom) were both a great additions to the story.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as fond of Connie.  I found it odd that it took her so long to figure out quite obvious things given her background as a top graduate student with keen research skills.  Something just kept seeming off about her.  In regard to plot line and twists, they often seemed clear to me ahead of when they were revealed in the book.  There were a couple of surprising elements toward the end though.

What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now? 

This book reminded me A LOT of The Crucible by Arthur Miller - which I love!  Many of the characters in Deliverance's story were exactly the same as the characters in Miller's play.  After reading the afterword by Katherine Howe, it seems that was done on purpose to create as much accurate historical context as possible.  Also, Howe revealed her interest in writing the book came as she was a grad student in the Massachusetts area and developed a deeper understanding of her own genealogical ties to the Salem witch trials.  I wish she had made the afterword into a preface.  I think it would have peaked my interest even more had I known she was loosely basing it on her own family history.

You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? 
How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages? 

The cover of the book was fantastic!  It fit the story perfectly!!  Connie discovers a key that initially leads her on the search for Deliverance's physick book.  And the house Connie inherits via her long-deceased grandmother is covered in ivy when she begins the task of cleaning it up that fateful summer.  The inside cover is the best part though - it is covered in old script with wording to indicate it actually is Deliverance Dane's highly sought after book.  

How many out of five do you give this book? Would you recommend this book to a friend?  

I would certainly recommend this book to others even though it was a bit tough for me to get started.  About halfway through, the story really picks up making the book hard to put it down at that point.  I'll give it 3.5 stars.  I only wish it had focused mostly on Deliverance Dane's story rather than modern day Connie's.

Andrea :)


  1. I liked The Crucible and the Salem Witch Trials are SO fascinating!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book! I have read other books that are split up between present time and other time periods. They can be really good, but sometimes can also get confusing depending on the author's ability to blend the two stories together