Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Howe)

Discussion Questions 
1. The story follows several sets of mothers and daughters: Connie and Grace, Grace and Sophia, Deliverance and Mercy, Mercy and Prudence. How do these mother/daughter relationships differ from one another? How are they the same? Did you identify with one set more than the others?

2. Most of the main characters in the novel are women. How have women’s roles changed from the 17th century to the 20th century? What about their obligations and opportunities?

3. As an historian, Connie likes to interpret the past in light of the present. Sam, however, is a preservationist: he likes to keep the past intact, sometimes at the expense of the present. How are their opposing feelings about the past made apparent? Would you classify yourself as an historian or a preservationist?

4. How do some of the buildings, such as Saltonstall Court, the Harvard Faculty Club, and the Milk Street House, function as characters in the story?

5. Discuss the role of Arlo in the novel. Does he share characteristics with the "cunning folk" in Connie’s past?

6. What role does religion play in the novel? Is Christianity contradictory or complementary to magic in this story?

7. Do you think magic, as represented in this book, exists in the real world? If so, how does it manifest itself? Do we use different terms to describe it today?

8. Deliverance has a chance to escape with her daughter the night before she is put to death. Why does she make the choice she does?

9. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is the latest in a long line of books about witchcraft in Salem. Why do you think we’re still so enthralled by this moment in history? What does Salem have to teach us about our culture today?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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