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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Whole Novel

I think Chilton is a bad person and drove himself mad with trying to find and do the impossible.

 

I think that there really was no curse, just bad luck associated with very different and dangerous times, so, in that sense, Sam has nothing from which to escape.

 

I think Connie will accept herself for who she is, become closer to her mother, and continue her relationship with Sam.

 


rkubie wrote:

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

What do you see in Connie's future?


 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Whole Novel


rkubie wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 


I was impressed that I figured out the arsenic poisoning, if I do say so myself!  LOL!

 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Fozzie
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Re: Whole Novel


JerseyAngel wrote:

I have to say the actual hanging of the women was heartwrenching. The way Katherine described the scene, you felt as though you were there, standing next to Mercy. You could feel the emotion & picture them all as they stood, waiting to be hung, having rotten vegetables thrown at them. I think it was one of the most impactful pieces in the book that will stay with me for some time.

 


I agree.  I don't know how people could attend such events as entertainment.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008

Re: Whole Novel

I agree.  This passage of the book was so vivid in its description.  It stayed with me well after I finished reading.

As for how people could attend the hanging as entertainment, it reminded me of trials, sentencing , and execution of murderers being televised and turned into entertainment by some of the cable news shows such as Nancy Grace.  At the OJ Simpson trial, the judges and lawyers seemed to play to the TV cameras.  When murderers are sentenced, many people often come to the courtroom and applaud and yell as if they are attending a sporting event.

 

 

Fozzie wrote:


JerseyAngel wrote:

I have to say the actual hanging of the women was heartwrenching. The way Katherine described the scene, you felt as though you were there, standing next to Mercy. You could feel the emotion & picture them all as they stood, waiting to be hung, having rotten vegetables thrown at them. I think it was one of the most impactful pieces in the book that will stay with me for some time.

 


I agree.  I don't know how people could attend such events as entertainment.


 

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mamawli
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎03-13-2009
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Re: Whole Novel

Chilton needed Connie to help him regain the respect that he had lost.  It was his question about Witchcraft on her exam that was put out there for her to explore in her thesis.  It so happened that she was closer to the research than even she knew about in the beginning.

 

Chilton represents the devil to me.  Every conversation that he had with Connie was to further his own career.  Even though he was her mentor, he had his own interests in mind.

 

I predict that Connie and Sam will marry.  I also think that Sam will restore the Milk Street House and in effect rid it of its demons.

 

 

Melissa_W
Posts: 4,123
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Whole Novel

Professor Chilton's demise really didn't surprise me - the singlemindedness of desperation and academic greed can really lead people to do despicable things.  Combine that with acute-on-chronic heavy metals poisoning from the alchemical experiments he was doing in his office and you get one crazy individual.

 

As to Sam, I don't think he's really in the clear.  Even though the book was missing, the women passed the knowledge down from mother to daughter all the way to Grace and Connie.  Their husbands and lovers all predeceased them so who is to say that the book's destruction will eliminate the threat to Sam (Radcliffe had also microfilmed the book so it does exist in another format).


rkubie wrote:

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 


 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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Fond_of_Books
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎09-24-2008
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Re: Whole Novel

I really enjoyed the end of the book. I was shocked when Connie threw the book into the fire to keep it away from Chilton. Even though I found out that they still have a copy at the library, I was still bummed that the original with all of the different handwritings and everything was gone.

 

I really like the whole spell scene at the end where Chilton got what he deserved. I'm not sure if Sam is safe. I don't have any thoughts on that one way or another.

 

The scenes at the end with Deliverance Dane were great, but heartwrenching. You could really see her character when she didn't escape with Mercy and leave everyone to hang when she really was a witch. I really like that she was a witch, but that she did it for good reasons and still believed in God. When I first picked up the book I didn't expect any actual witchcraft, so I was pleasantly surprised when Connie discovered that she could cast spells and that she belonged to a line of witches.

 

Great story!

Fond_of_Books

She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain. ~Louisa May Alcott
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blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008

Re: Whole Novel


aprilh wrote:

I wanted to put this out there and see what everyone else thought. On page 331, while Mercy is visiting Deliverance in jail, Deliverance tells her, "it is written in the New Testament, in Matthew, that God came down and spoke to Peter, saying that upon this rock shall his church be built. It is you who are Peter, my daughter. You are the stone on which the church is built." When Professor Chilton turns up at the Milk Street house, wanting the shadow book, Connie tells him the book will not work for him. He screams, "It has to work! The philosopher's stone is the conduit! It is the medium for God's power here on earth! The rock on which God's church is built!" (pages 352-353) Could Mercy have possibly been the missing link in the philosopher's stone? Or maybe the house Deliverance had built on Milk Street?

 


Funny, I was struck by those parts too. I think Katherine Howe is amazing to come up with things like this.  Loved it, by the way.

 

I think perhaps these could possibly allude to the fact that Chilton is looking for something that can never be created (the philosopher's stone).  In fact, the stone is a person. People have made the mistake of taking the words literally, rather than as they were intended.  Meaning the person is the foundation, the conduit, and the power and without him/her things can't continue or be conceived.  In Deliverance, Mercy, and Grace's case it is up to them to pass the power on.  They are the conduits, the mediums, so to speak.

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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CJINCA
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-28-2008

Re: Whole Novel

I thought that Prof Chilton was so super-mega-evil that he might somehow turn out to be a good guy.  WRONG!  

 

I also thought that there might be some kind of good/female force opposing an evil/male force through the centuries...WRONG AGAIN!  But, I liked that the evil that Connie had to fight turned out not to be a magical force -- Chilton was deranged, desperate, amoral, poisoned, a poisoner, but not a witch (nor an alchemist).

 

We don't know if Sam's escaped the curse yet -- feels like he's not at risk for the curse until the next generation's witch is born.

 

Connie's future:  she makes brilliant use of the physick book and immediately earns a name for herself in academic circles.

 

Other characters:   would have liked more Liz and more academic/historical/literary interpretations of the signs and the writings.  (I'd love an "illustrated version" of this book that has more of the source material, shows us some of the inspirations for the signs, etc.)

 

In Deliverance Dane, we got to know a person of rare grace, kindness, thoughtfulness and dignity.  

 

Over all, this was a wonderful book, very rich and very moving.  I will definitely read it again...probably right before I pre-order the next book on the Dane family... 

 

...the only problem is, I keep calling it "The Physick Book of Dominick Dunne."  WRONG!

 

-- C.

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EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006

Re: Whole Novel

So much of what I thought would happen did happen, with the story line and characters but, Katherine Howe made the getting there worthwhile.

 

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daylilies1126
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Whole Novel

I just wanted to say that I liked the way that the book tied everything together in the end.  While I was reading the novel, I was having a hard time getting through bits and pieces of it, and found myself wondering how this was all going to tie together.  It did tie together, and in that, everything in the beginning made sense.  I liked the ending, but it went by too quickly.  In some ways, I would have liked to seen more explanation at the end of some of the plot threads, especially the professor's.  Overall, I liked the novel, and it was a worthwhile read.
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fifenhorn
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-26-2009

Re: Whole Novel

It took me a long time to finish this book, but by my own fault, unfortunately (I was painting and doing household things in our new home). I really enjoyed this book, completely.

 

I was not prepared for Chilton's appearance at the door when Connie "called" for the evildoer. And even then, I didn't think about what he might have done to harm Sam. I was on the trail of Chilton being a Warlock, perhaps...and expecting him to want the Physick book not for his "research" but to be able to gain the spells inside!  That was WAY off base.  But then, when I realized he'd poisoned Sam in order to further himself, I knew that Chilton was a sick man, immoral and soulless. 

 

Sam truly escaped the curse, because Connie was willing to "try" what she knew would work. She was stuck in a moral situation as well...should she continue the spell, knowing that it would harm the man she had looked to as a mentor?  Should she stop what she was doing, knowing that the man she loved might never recover?  In the end, love won out, but I think it was more because she realized just how evil Chilton was.

 

I knew, once Connie realized her ties to Deliverance and Mercy, that she would not leave the house. And with Sam restoring it, I'm sure it would be the place she would be happiest.

 

I'd love to see a 2nd book come out - maybe following the line up a bit more, from Mercy on up to Grace....to see how those lives panned out. And another book about Connie and Sam and the life they would lead.  Connie's going to marry Sam, they'll have a daughter, named something in the same line...and the story goes on....

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Whole Novel

Nice post. Glad you were able to finish the book. :smileyhappy:


fifenhorn wrote:

It took me a long time to finish this book, but by my own fault, unfortunately (I was painting and doing household things in our new home). I really enjoyed this book, completely.

 

I was not prepared for Chilton's appearance at the door when Connie "called" for the evildoer. And even then, I didn't think about what he might have done to harm Sam. I was on the trail of Chilton being a Warlock, perhaps...and expecting him to want the Physick book not for his "research" but to be able to gain the spells inside!  That was WAY off base.  But then, when I realized he'd poisoned Sam in order to further himself, I knew that Chilton was a sick man, immoral and soulless. 

 

Sam truly escaped the curse, because Connie was willing to "try" what she knew would work. She was stuck in a moral situation as well...should she continue the spell, knowing that it would harm the man she had looked to as a mentor?  Should she stop what she was doing, knowing that the man she loved might never recover?  In the end, love won out, but I think it was more because she realized just how evil Chilton was.

 

I knew, once Connie realized her ties to Deliverance and Mercy, that she would not leave the house. And with Sam restoring it, I'm sure it would be the place she would be happiest.

 

I'd love to see a 2nd book come out - maybe following the line up a bit more, from Mercy on up to Grace....to see how those lives panned out. And another book about Connie and Sam and the life they would lead.  Connie's going to marry Sam, they'll have a daughter, named something in the same line...and the story goes on....


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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dj5775
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Whole Novel

What a great read this book was for me as a New Englander. There were so many good parts of the book. I also like the passage on pages 12-13 about her brain's knowledge being made up of filing cabinets with their drawers of index card. I thought it was a fantastic metaphor. A quote out of chapter 17 stuck with me..New York looks ahead, she mused but Boston can't help but look back. 

Chilton appeared to get creeper with each page into the story, I knew something was up with him. He was overly interested in Connie finding the book only proving his obsession and interest in advancing his own career, name , and self, which left the impression he wouldn't recognize Connie's hard work if he had succeded. 

Arlo, I had a feeling he knew the truth beind Connie the whole time. He was perceptive and loyal, someone from the past who appeared to guide her in finding her truth. 

The characters of the early period I though to be possible relatives of Connie's family. 

Grace knew the time would come that her daughter would evolve and her knowledge would grow, the knowledge of her family and self just at her own time. It was nice to see them brought back together at the home of their family in the end with a stronger relationship. 

I think Sam has escaped the curse..for now, I'm sure with a new book(s) the story will grow. I think Chilton will be around as well to get some revenge. I can see them married and having a family as well sharing all their historical knowledge with a stubborn child of their own giving Grace a little chuckle. The Milk St house will thrive as a larger family member in and of itself. I loved the book and am excited to hear news on any others to come!

ct
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ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,523
Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Re: Whole Novel

I just got to the part where Connie is reading the recipes and discovered she have some kind of power. I am planning on finishing this very interesting book. I am excited to see what is going to happen with her and the other characters. This is a very good first novel. I can hardly wait for her next book to come out.

 

I am also looking forward to the new First Look book.

 

I am hoping to do better on the new one.

 

ReadingPatti

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pen21
Posts: 3,648
Registered: ‎03-23-2009
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Re: Whole Novel

I loved that part of the book. Connie is discovering her talent.

But she is also learning about what those before her wrote in the recipe book.

I totally agree with you.

pen21

 


ReadingPatti wrote:

I just got to the part where Connie is reading the recipes and discovered she have some kind of power. I am planning on finishing this very interesting book. I am excited to see what is going to happen with her and the other characters. This is a very good first novel. I can hardly wait for her next book to come out.

 

I am also looking forward to the new First Look book.

 

I am hoping to do better on the new one.

 

ReadingPatti


 

 
Inspired Wordsmith
basson_mommy12
Posts: 743
Registered: ‎05-27-2008
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Re: Whole Novel

Well, being that I'm 8 months late to the party, I thought I'd hop in and make a comment or two.  I just finished this book, and rather quickly at that.  It read very fast for me.

 

Dr. Chilton:  I was sure he would end up being a bad dude from the start and for no other reason than his name blared out in my head, "Silence of the Lambs!"  Did anyone else notice this?  That was the name of Lecter's nemesis, if I remember correctly.  It freaked me out from the first time I read his name.

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral? 

I think Chilton is deluded, whether it be wholly psychological, or organic in origin, not evil.  Similarly with Deliverance, I don't believe in true, absolute evil and find it hard to go there in a fictional sense, either.  Delusion would therefore take out the point of amorality, since through his delusion, he has no sense of right or wrong.

 

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

Maybe.  Perhaps the catalyst to the curse is sex, not pregnancy/birth.  Connie and Sam have been intimate and I think this is what metaphysically created the link between them.  Is he safe?  I wouldn't dangle from rafters anymore, I think.

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

I think Connie is deeply connected.  I think she was from the first, not just now and that's why she had such a hard time getting it ready for sale.  Subconsciously she did not want to separate from it.

 

Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group?

I was especially moved by the interaction between Mercy and Deliverance in the prison cell and the efforts of Mercy in the end to save her mother from suffering pain and fear.  If I could have anything on my deathbed, it would be that.

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

Successful career in research, publishing and eventually an author of mysterious and supernatural novels dabbling in the occult.... Strangely, similar to the author, Katherine Howe.  :smileywink:

"The Answer to the Great Question of ... Life, the Universe and Everything ... (is) 42." -- Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Ruth W.
Grand Rapids, MI