It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together.
Until they can’t.
First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.
Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .
Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?
"...this creepy, gripping novel is intimately real and layered, shedding light on the challenges teenage girls have faced throughout history. Particularly in situations of powerlessness, Conversion shows, stress can reveal itself in mysterious ways."
—The New York Times
"Conversion melds the best bits of private school drama (think Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep) with the mystique of the supernatural. Pick it up this fall for a good old-fashioned mystery and maybe even a flashback to your high school years (for better or for worse). Be prepared to love this bewitching page-turner!"
—The Christian Science Monitor
"[Howe] has a gift for capturing the teenage mindset that nears the level of John Green....there's no one better to bewitch teens and adults alike with a modern tale of gripping panic."
"....thrilling....A chilling guessing game of a novel that will leave readers thinking about the power (and powerlessness) of young women in the past and present alike."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Engrossing and thought-provoking"
"How is it possible for a novel to be funny, suspenseful, tender, wickedly satiric, and terrifying all at once? When it's written by the bewitchingly talented Katherine Howe. Once again she transports us back in time to the tragic events in Salem Village that led to the deaths of more than twenty innocent citizens. This time, however, she turns an equally discerning eye on the academic and social pressures of an elite private school in contemporary times. The parallels she draws between the two worlds are provocative and haunting; whether you're a parent or a high-school student, you'll never look at the college rat race the same way again!"
—Julia Glass, National Book Award–winning author
of And the Dark Sacred Night and The Three Junes
"A mesmerizing portrayal of the hopes and anxieties of several young women, CONVERSION is a compulsive read. It's intelligent, beautifully written, quick-paced....and even a bit spooky. I couldn't put it down."
—Marie Rutkoski, bestselling author
of The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime
"Smart, compelling, exciting, and completely absorbing. Katherine Howe is stunningly deft at blurring the lines between the emotional and the supernatural. I recommend clearing your calendar before you start reading this novel."
—David Liss, bestselling author of The Twelfth Enchantment
"Brilliant, scary, and impossible to put down, Conversion weaves together the Salem witch trials with a mysterious present-day illness that sweeps through an all-girls high school. It's the perfect storm of suspense, history, romance, and teen angst. A five-star read!"
—Nancy Ohlin, Author of Always, Forever and Beauty
"Propulsive...A simmering blend of relatable high school drama with a persistent pinprick of unearthliness in the background."
"Richly drawn characters and period language....a deliberate buildup of escalating tension and suspense."
Katherine Howe, author of the New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, edits a collection of chilling real-life accounts of witches, from medieval Europe through colonial America.
From a manual for witch hunters written by King James himself in 1597, to court documents from the Salem witch trials of 1692, to newspaper coverage of a woman stoned to death on the streets of Philadelphia while the Continental Congress met, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasury of historical accounts of accused witches that sheds light on the reality behind the legends. Bringing to life stories like that of Eunice Cole, tried for attacking a teenage girl with a rock and buried with a stake through her heart; Jane Jacobs, a Bostonian so often accused of witchcraft that she took her tormentors to court on charges of slander; and Increase Mather, an exorcism-performing minister famed for his knowledge of witches, this volume provides a unique tour through the darkest history of English and North American witchcraft, never failing to horrify, intrigue, and delight.
Haunting . . . Erudite, insightful, and resonant . . . There are unsettling, inescapable parallels to the recent police violence in Ferguson, Mo. . . . The Penguin Book of Witches . . . provides invaluable historical context, and makes fascinating reading about a past that all too well illuminates the present.
Katherine Howe’s new book recalls a time when witchcraft wasn’t just a crime, it was enough to get you killed.
—NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday
A fascinating selection of historical accounts.
—The Washington Post
Invaluable . . . A fine compendium.
I am just glad there is now, in this world, a book with the title The Penguin Book of Witches, because, really, how cool is that.
—John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling and Hugo Award–winning author
An excellent read . . . Fascinating and completely different from [other] books on witchcraft . . . A sobering look at what fear and instability can do to communities through the demonization of anyone thought of as different. You will close the book with a broader understanding of what we are capable of doing to each other.
A cornucopia of fascinating and often unsettling texts . . . Deftly curated and exhaustively annotated . . . [Along with] Howe’s engaging, thorough, and thoughtful annotations . . . the excerpts . . . are fascinating windows into early ideas about gender, class, and social roles.
Fascinating and insightful. With her usual skill, Katherine Howe navigates the winding path leading to Salem’s hysteria and beyond. A must-read for anyone who wants to know not only what happened but also how and why.
— Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places
This comprehensive collection of carefully selected documents and published primary materials, coupled with judicious and informative introductions, will help modern readers understand the seemingly inexplicable and persistent popular phenomenon of belief in witchcraft from the seventeenth century into more modern times.
— Mary Beth Norton, author ofIn the Devil’s Snare
An informative and engaging series of texts that Katherine Howe introduces in a crisp and well-informed manner. The chronological breadth is unusual, but it allows us to grasp more fully the continuities that mark the history of witch-hunting on both sides of the Atlantic.
— David D. Hall, Harvard Divinity School
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 Pretty Good Gatsby
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.
★ #2 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ★
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
— USA Today
A beautifully written, historically captivating thriller
— Boston Globe
Literary alchemy … powerful enough to deliver a charming summer read
— Christian Science Monitor
— Denver Post
Howe asks her readers to consider that what became condemned as witchcraft may have been, perhaps even continues to be, quite real
— Charleston City Paper
[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
— Washington Post
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
— John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, University College London, on BBC 4 Open Book
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