A Discovery of Witches Left Me Wanting More Right NOW

BlogHer Review

Would it be enough to say "Edward Cullin has NOTHING on Matthew Clairmont!" and end my review there?

No?  I suppose not. 

How about if I add "Who better for a historian than a man who has lived through history?"

No?  Still not enough?

A Discovery of Witches is the first work of fiction by Deborah Harkness.  (Her previous two publications were non-fiction.)  In my opinion her second work of fiction can not come soon enough.

Paranormal romances seem to be my genre of choice lately.  If you look at what I've been reading recently you'll find a lot of vampires, witches, trolls, faeries, shape-shifters, werewolves, and magic.  With one novel Deborah Harkness has managed to find herself ranked highly within my list of very favorites.

A Discovery of Witches has a little bit of everything.  Mostly... witches, vampires, and daemons.  You'll also find culture, romance, history, science, family, love and magic.  There is so much in this novel.  Such depth in the story and character development.  It makes it really hard to decide what to share.

Diana Bishop is the last in a long line of witches.  She has spent her life studying history and sciences, trying to pretend she's not the magical creature she is.  While researching alchemy texts at Oxford, Diana comes across a "lost" manuscript.  She unknowingly releases a magical spell that has been placed on the book and she suddenly finds herself drawn into the world of witches, vampires and daemons, and has little choice but to call on the powers she has tried to hide from.

Immediately after finding the lost text, Diana meets Matthew Clairmont, an Oxford professor and geneticist who is also a centuries-old vampire.  Diana struggles with being able to trust Matthew (witches and vampires are enemies after all) but through the novel they learn not only about each other... but about how the history of witches, vampires and daemons has a direct impact on their lives and choices.

I love that Diana is a strong female character.  She wants to take care of herself.  She wants to live her life the way she wants to.  She faces her fears head on with courage.  At the same time, I love that Matthew is "old-fashioned" in his beliefs.  He opens doors. He is protective of those he loves.  He follows a code of chivalry.  I love how they come together.  They both have such a passion for everything (their studies, their families, their hobbies) it's not surprising when they can't control the passion they develop for each other.

I finally have to take just a moment to talk about the locations of A Discovery of Witches. About a 1/3 of the book is set at Oxford in London, a 1/3 at Matthew Clairmont's family home in France, and a 1/3 at Diana Bishop's family home in upstate New York.  This novel is just begging to be a movie full of gorgeous scenery. 

I really only have one thing I can't stand about A Discovery of Witches; it is the first book in a trilogy and Harkness is still writing the second book.  From what I could find on her website and on her Facebook page, book two will probably publish in 2012.  Probably.  If there is one thing I just hate... it's waiting for the next book of a series when I LOVED the first book.  I am very impatient. 


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