The House of Velvet and Glass
Preview the first chapter at Scribd.
Listen to an interview with Katherine Howe at Literary New England.
Katherine Howe, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, returns with an entrancing historical novel set in Boston in 1915, where a young woman stands on the cusp of a new century, torn between loss and love, driven to seek answers in the depths of a crystal ball.
Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.
But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.
From the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown to the opulent salons of high society, from the back alleys of colonial Shanghai to the decks of the Titanic, The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist that will leave readers breathless.
Richly atmospheric, The House of Velvet and Glass transported me to the turn of the twentieth century and a world changing as rapidly and irrevocably as our own. A gifted historian and storyteller, Katherine Howe has created a vividly imagined world that made me want to suspend time, lingering just a bit longer with the characters who live there, before the whole thing vanished in the clouded glass.
— Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places
The House of Velvet and Glass is an intricate and intimate family portrait, painted against a backdrop of beautifully rendered tales of colonialist Shanghai, the wreck of the Titanic, and upper-crust Boston dabblers in the spirit world in the uneasy days preceding the Great War. I’d ask Katherine Howe for more than this, but it seems churlish to request that she turn the pages for me.
— Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham and Dust and Shadow
Katherine Howe follows up her amazing debut with The House of Velvet and Glass, a thoughtful journey into the realms of the supernatural that inhabits its source material with effortless ease and charm. A totally absorbing read peopled with characters who will haunt readers’ minds.
— David Liss, author of The Twelfth Enchantment and A Conspiracy of Paper
I could truly go on and on for days about this novel. Haunting and richly detailed, The House of Velvet and Glass is an absolute joy… I didn’t want to set it down at all. It was all I could do to keep myself from calling in to work sick just so I could continue reading – and that’s really saying something.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
For much more on the book, go to physickbook.com.
A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history – the Salem witch trials.
Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest—to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.
As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.
Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials in the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue and revelation.
If you need some magic in your life (and these days, who doesn’t?) lose yourself in The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.
— Real Simple
Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is a witch story that will leave you spellbound… Physick Book is a fresh and mesmerizing modern-day mystery of witches and witchcraft set in the real world — and that’s what makes it so good
A beautifully written, historically captivating thriller
Literary alchemy … powerful enough to deliver a charming summer read
Howe asks her readers to consider that what became condemned as witchcraft may have been, perhaps even continues to be, quite real
[In] this charming novel … Howe has filled us in on much more than we used to know about that group of unfortunate women who paid the price of their lives due to a town’s irrational fears
Are you looking for a hot summer read? You cannot do better than The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
— Chris Cuomo, Good Morning America
Harry Potter meets The Da Vinci Code in this engrossing fiction that assumes the victims of the Salem Witch Trials were actually witches
— Northern Virginia Magazine
Original and absorbing
— The Times (London)
Howe’s spellbinding, vividly detailed, witty, and astutely plotted debut is deeply rooted in her family connection to accused seventeenth-century witches Elizabeth Howe and Elizabeth Proctor and propelled by an illuminating view of witchcraft. In all a keen and magical historical mystery laced with romance and sly digs at society’s persistent underestimation of women
Have you ever had to leave work early so you could go home and finish the last chapter of the book you’re reading? It happened to me recently: Katherine Howe’s debut novel . . . is a page-turning, delicious and devilishly delightful read… The Physick Book is the type of book I love—a totally original work that defies description and takes control of your mind and your emotions.
— Publishers Weekly, Galley Talk column
Reading this book is a rewarding experience which in many ways reminds me of A.S. Byatt’s Possession
A sensational debut novel not only because of its fabulously gripping story that meets my number one test (i.e., that I wish I had thought of it first), but also because it carries on every page Katherine’s unique passion, wit, intelligence, and spirit.
— Matthew Pearl, bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow
Delicious Book to Enjoy Over and Over! Ms. Howe serves up a wonderful story with enough history to add substance without becoming a boring textbook, compelling characters, and enough details to keep the book fresh and exciting enough to read again and again. I think this book is the new Harry Potter for adult readers… to be enjoyed by all. I can’t wait for the sequel and will buy many copies as gifts for friends and family. I thank Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club for giving me the chance to be one of the first readers to enjoy Ms. Katherine’s debut novel and I definitely recommend it to everyone!
Wonderful!!! This book was an absolute joy to read! The author does a wonderful job getting readers involved in the characters and the story. Mrs. Howe obviously did a lot of research and she truly seems to care about the Salem witch trials and all of the history involved. This book has something for everyone! I would recommend this book to anyone!
Can’t Put Down Reading! Katherine Howe’s debut novel is a spell binding “can’t put down” read! I anxiously awaited the arrival of this book, and once it arrived, nothing but page turning was on the on the agenda around this house until the last word was savored. Now, I am sitting on the edge of my seat watching Facebook for word of just when the promised sequel will be relinquished to my thirsting eyes. Ms. Howe seamlessly blends fantasy, romance, thrills, and history into one novel which moves magically from 1692 to 1991; from modern day Salem, Massachusetts to the hysterical times of the Salem witch hunts. Whether or not you believe in witches, you will believe in the enchantment bestowed in the pages of this delightful book as you get to know Deliverance Dane, her descendents, and the contents of the physick book. I highly recommend The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Katherine Howe to anyone looking for a good read!
A Must Read! I could not put this book down, I really enjoyed it! I love the fact that the author is actually related to two of the victims of the Salem witch trials. It is backed with historical reference, has suspense and mystery, romance and comedy. I highly recommend it!
— lg4154, from a BN.com customer review
I was bewitched! I was bewitched by the book. It arrived on a Friday evening. I stayed up way too late reading then found myself sneaking in a page or two any time I could – even while standing in line at the grocery! I haven’t had the pleasure of being that engrossed in some time.
— Wilson54, from a BN.com customer review