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Author Katherine Howe to speak at Maine Coast Book Shop

Posted Aug. 19, 2014, at 9:55 a.m.

DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Katherine Howe, author of New York Times bestseller “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane,” will read and discuss her new novel “Conversion,” 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at the Maine Coast Book Shop, 158 Main St.

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, and 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, Mass., 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 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?

Howe has hosted “Salem: Unmasking the Devil” for the National Geographic Channel, and her fiction has been translated into over twenty-five languages. “Conversion” currently is being made into a movie. A native Texan, Howe lives in New England and upstate New York, where she teaches at Cornell and is at work on her next novel.

Arrive on time to ensure a seat. Unable to attend? Call the bookstore at 563-3207 to reserve a signed copy.

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