A Discovery of Witches is an Enthralling Book Discovery for Summer!

BlogHer Review

When Deborah Harkness' book, A Discovery of Witches, arrived in the mail, my first thought was that this book would be a great summer read. At nearly 2 1/2” thick, it looked like one of those books you could settle into and savor for a week or more over the summer. But with the kids still in school and all the end-of-school-year activities in full swing, I somewhat reluctantly lifted the hefty volume off my nightstand and began reading, wondering how I would fit this in with everything else on the schedule.

I didn’t need to worry though, as the book immediately captivated me and the pages almost seemed to turn themselves. Within the first few pages, we meet the main character, Diana, a likable and focused historian and professor at Oxford that is determined to gently repudiate her quirky aunt along with her stories about their family lineage of witches that could be traced back to Salem, Massachusetts.

However, Diana’s neat and orderly world quickly unravels when she discovers an ancient alchemical textbook within the archives of the Bodleian study library at Oxford. She immediately senses that the ancient text is more than meets the eye, and her suspicions are confirmed when she notices that other shifty and threatening characters are overly interested in the text as well.

With that one discovery, Diana is embroiled in a vicious battle that has been raging for centuries. Her naiveté and her denial of her birthright pit her against forces she is ill-prepared to handle. A “chance” meeting at the library with Matthew Clairmont, a rising star in the field of genetics and a fellow professor, seeds a friendship that starts out on shaky ground and slowly develops into a deeply intimate relationship between a witch (Diana) and a vampire (Matthew). However, their relationship is considered taboo in the fringe world of preternatural creatures, where an ancient covenant forbids the sharing of secrets or intimacy with other “creatures”. Harkness is a scholar and historian, as well as a remarkable story-teller. Diana’s fierce, modern independence and Matthew’s old-world protectiveness that straddles the line between passion and obsession create a clash of personalities and cultures that makes for an outstanding story! It would seem that readers have had their fill of vampires with the Twilight series and the engaging young heart-throbs, Edward and Bella, but Harkness’ book will take the public’s intrigue with vampires (and witches) to a whole new level.

The book closes on an immensely satisfying note, but leaves dozens of mysteries that have yet to be resolved, and so begs for another book! I was happy to find out that A Discovery of Witches is the first of a trilogy and Harkness’ next book is planned for 2012. I already have Harkness’ next book designated for my reading list for next summer!

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