Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Reading for Historians

In January at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, a young professor greeted me: "Hey, Hyperion is publishing my wife's novel!" He had spotted the sign that told attendees that we distribute and sell Hyperion titles. He went on to tell me--with great pride--that his wife, Katherine Howe, is the author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Well, he has a lot to be proud of. The just-published novel received a starred review in Booklist--which was followed by more terrific reviews.

A great summer read--the novel tells the story of a young graduate student who finds out that she is related to a "witch" who was condemned in the 1692 Salem trials--and she discovers that she, too, has special powers.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a wonderful mix of history and contemporary events that spring from the author's life: Katherine Howe's ancestors settled Essex County, Massachusetts in the 1620s, and stayed there through the twentieth century. Family members included Elizabeth Proctor, who survived the Salem witch trials, and Elizabeth Howe, who did not. Katherine Howe got a Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University, which included a research seminar on New England witchcraft. The idea for this novel developed while she was studying for her Ph.D. exams.


  1. That sounds really interesting! I love stories about people discovering secrets from their past.

  2. Funny, Hyperion also just published "Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret" by Steve Luxenberg.