The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

The Physick Book of Deliverance DaneThe Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the premise of this book, being a researcher and historian myself. I also like investigations into the paranormal. However – this ends up bordering on magic and fantasy. The historical side of the story was very well done. I would like to have learned more about these women and their relationships with their daughters. It’s interesting to see Connie’s mother covering up her magical abilities in New Age mysticism, and to show the relationship develop between Connie and her mother. I did find it a little hard to swallow the idea that Connie is only learning of her own paranormal abilities in her twenties. I also wish that the psychic and paranormal elements had been more “ordinary” and less fantastical. The love story between Connie and Sam the steeplejack was sweet. I wouldn’t call this a mystery exactly, since the clues were obvious to the reader, nor is it a thriller. You’ll know who the bad guy is long before Connie does. I listened to the audiobook, so the phonetic dialect spellings didn’t bother me. On the other hand, I wasn’t at all convinced by the narrator’s (Katherine Kellgren) Boston accent.

Description: Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin plans on dedicating her summer to research. Her plans begin to fall into place when she is tasked with selling her grandmother’s reclusive Salem home. However, upon discovering a seventeenth-century Bible, Connie unwittingly walks into an ancient mystery and embarks on a quest to discover a book that contains ultimate knowledge.

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An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Negative: Too long, too confusing with four different plot lines, pacing – we get bogged down with nothing happening and then everything happens at once, too many incidental characters that serve no real purpose, a number of incontinuities with previous books and even within this book (Willie and Ian, Jamie and Willie, etc.), characters in contrived situations that seem quite out of character (Claire and Lord John – seriously?), and of course four different cliff hanger endings. Well, I can wait for the next book. And in the meantime I feel as if I need to go back and reread the entire series from the beginning to try and sort everything out. This one desperately needed some serious editing.

Positive: I still love all the characters – Jamie and Claire, Roger and Bree, Jemmy and Mandy, Ian and Rachel, and Lord John. Not sure about Willie yet. And I like Lord John better in his own books. He seems a bit stiff in this one. I still love the immense period detail and descriptions of every day life. In the end, that’s all this book comes down to, because the plot arc is not resolved, but to be continued… probably in at least two more books. And I still love how Davina Porter (narrator) handles the various voices.

Book Description:
Jamie Fraser, former Jacobite and reluctant rebel, is already certain of three things about the American rebellion: The Americans will win, fighting on the side of victory is no guarantee of survival, and he’d rather die than have to face his illegitimate son–a young lieutenant in the British army–across the barrel of a gun.

Claire Randall knows that the Americans will win, too, but not what the ultimate price may be. That price won’t include Jamie’s life or his happiness, though–not if she has anything to say about it.

Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the twentieth century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her husband, Roger MacKenzie, have resettled in a historic Scottish home where, across a chasm of two centuries, the unfolding drama of Brianna’s parents’ story comes to life through Claire’s letters. The fragile pages reveal Claire’s love for battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and their flight from North Carolina to the high seas, where they encounter privateers and ocean battles–as Brianna and Roger search for clues not only to Claire’s fate but to their own. Because the future of the MacKenzie family in the Highlands is mysteriously, irrevocably, and intimately entwined with life and death in war-torn colonial America.

With stunning cameos of historical characters from Benedict Arnold to Benjamin Franklin, An Echo in the Bone is a soaring masterpiece of imagination, insight, character, and adventure–a novel that echoes in the mind long after the last page is turned.

The Fiery Cross

The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another meandering entry in the Outlander saga. What it lacks in plot, it makes up for with interesting characters, lots of period detail, and some hair-raising adventures. I’d rank this one only a little behind the first and third in the series. Why is it that the odd numbers in a series tend to be better? That was definitely true of the Harry Potter series, too…

Book description from Amazon:
1771: the Colony of North Carolina stands in an uneasy balance, with the rich, colonial aristocracy on one side and the struggling pioneers of the backcountry on the other. Between them stands Jamie Fraser, a man of honour, a man of worth. Exiled from his beloved Scotland, he is at last possessed of the land he has longed for. By his side his extraordinary wife, Claire, a woman out of time and out of place, blessed with the uneasy gift of the knowledge of what is to come. In the past, that knowledge has brought both danger and deliverance to Jamie and Claire. Now it could be a flickering torch that will light their way through the perilous years ahead – or might ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes. “The Fiery Cross” is by turns poignant, page-turning, meticulous in its historical detail and searingly passionate.