The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe, review by Shelly Walston
In Katherine Howe’s The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs, readers meet Constance Goodwin once again – the same academic known for unmasking familial mysticism from Howe’s 2009 bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. While years have passed since Connie uncovered the secrets of Deliverance Dane at her Granna’s cottage, she now must race against a ticking clock to unearth a way to save the ones she loves, all while preparing to turn in her tenure packet to Northeastern University.
In this much-anticipated follow-up to Deliverance Dane, Connie works with - and against - some of the same characters from her time pursuing her doctorate at Harvard. Connie’s mother Grace, especially, aids Connie in her new quest, and the same garden full of hemlock, mandrake, and sage guides the two women as they complete family “recipes”.
From the stacks at Widener Library, to the collection of American Women’s writing at Schlesinger, to the call slips at the Boston Athenæum Connie exhausts her sources, seeking out the chance to save her long-time boyfriend Sam. To call Sam a boyfriend diminishes his significance in Connie’s life; he’s her soulmate, her person, her other half. But the clue to unlock the mysteries eludes her … until she realizes that it’s been with her for as long as she can remember.
With a strong cast of characters, a dynamically-paced plot, and a mystery that dates back to the dawn of Salem’s history, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs will delight readers old and new. While this book follows afoot from Deliverance Dane, it stands on spectacularly its own. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy Deborah Harkness’s All Soul’s Trilogy and Alice Hoffman’s Rules of Magic.