Series: The Physick Book. I read Book One (The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) in 2009.
What I remembered about this series prior to reading this book: I had gotten this series completely mixed up with the Deborah Harkness series, which was rather unfair to these books. While I didn’t love this, it’s certainly better than the All Souls trilogy. Because I had it mixed up with another series, it turned out I didn’t actually remember anything about the first book when I picked this one up.
Why I stopped reading the series: Well, the two books were published 10 years apart (one in 2009, one in 2019). I didn’t enjoy Book One enough that I ever would have sought out Book Two if it weren’t for my current project where I’m revisiting old series.
The plot: There’s so much. Connie, a college history professor, comes from a long line of witches. For some reason (I can’t remember if this is ever explained), any time any of these witches has a baby, the baby’s father is doomed to an early death. Connie has a partner, Sam, who I guess is also in the first book although I don’t remember him, and when she gets pregnant she starts to fear for his life and begins searching for a spell that could counteract this curse. The plot cuts back and forth between Connie and her ancestors, particularly the one ancestor who had managed to find a spell to protect her husband from the curse. There’s also a subplot about some grad students fighting over a tenure track job opening, or something. I don’t work in academia so I had a lot of trouble following that particular plot point.
The good: This book was a quick read and fairly enjoyable for the most part. The characters are likable and Katherine Howe is great at the historical fiction side, so the flashbacks were really interesting.
The bad: I was mostly meh about this book and didn’t really have a strong opinion either way, until I got to the end. Spoiler: The spell that will protect Sam from the curse is a weather spell, and is so strong that the one time it was performed before, it caused the Year Without a Summer (this was a real thing that happened in 1816, and is pretty interesting to read about). It did save the witch’s husband, but that’s a pretty costly spell. Connie is warned that she shouldn’t do it because it’s so incredibly strong, but she does anyway. Sam lives, but according to the author’s note at the end of the book, this spell helped accelerate the climate change we’ve seen over the past 20 years (this book takes place in 2000). So, Connie saved Sam but contributed to the planet’s doom, and this is supposed to be a happy ending? As a person with massive amounts of climate change anxiety all this did is make me hate Connie. I also don’t really understand why there’s a connection between this weather spell and this curse. I don’t remember it being explained, and it doesn’t make much sense as the threats that Sam faces, at least, aren’t weather-related.
Did The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs change my mind about the series?: No. I didn’t think much of it before, and I doubt any of it will stick with me now that I’ve finished it.
Will I keep reading the series?: I’m pretty sure there are only two books in this series, but no, I wouldn’t read any more of it.