Monday, October 07, 2019

Review: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe

Title: The Daughters of Temperance Howe
Author: Katherine Howe
Series: The Physick Book, #2
Published: June 2019, Henry Holt & Company
Format: ARC Paperback, 338 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

My thoughts:  While this a sequel to Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, and technically the second in the series, of which I did not read, it is not the first book I have read by Katherine Howe. A few years back, I read Conversion after hearing it compared to Megan Abbot's The Fever which I had loved. I remember loving Conversion, so it was a no-brainer to pick up this latest book.

Not having read the prior book, I was not sure what to expect, but considering it had come out ten years earlier, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just jump in. And it was fine. Katherine Howe gives just enough back story that I never felt lost and even states that it is a self-contained story. 

I found this story to be completely engaging. I loved the alternating timeline - moving back and forth between the past and the present. Most of the story is told in the present, following Connie as she is desperate to break a family curse before it is too late. I loved Connie - she is a strong woman and I always love when we have a strong female lead. I also enjoyed the snippets we got of the past, learning about Connie's ancestors. I've always been fascinated by the history of witchcraft and these flashback scenes were just so interesting. 

Katherine Howe does a fantastic job weaving historical fact and fiction into this book. And her historical note at the end of the book is not to be missed. Not having read the earlier book has only made me want to go back and pick it up now because I am excited to read more of these characters and to get Connie's earlier story. Plus I really like Katherine Howe's writing style.


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