Escape With A Discovery Of Witches This Summer

BlogHer Review

My idea of a good summer read is book that you can take to the beach on your vacation that will transport you to another time and place. The best books will take you to a magical place that you've never been before. A Discovery of Witches is that kind of book. The world Deborah Harkness creates where a witch can fall in love with a vampire is the strongest element in the book. The reader is almost immediately drawn into the ancient community of Oxford, England where the book introduces the reader to a world where vampires, witches and daemons are regular folk working as professors, financial consultants, and yoga instructors.

A Discovery of Witches is like the Harry Potter series written for a grown up audience. A Discovery of Witches, written by Deborah Harkness, focuses on the world of witches and other magical creatures, but it isn't as whimsical as Harry Potter. And like some other recent popular fiction, the title of the book says its about witches, but vampires also play an important part in the story.

Vampire fiction has dominated the top of the bestseller lists recently. I must admit that I am not a big fan of the paranormal genre. Two recent exceptions have been Stephanie Meyer's international sensation Twilight, and the award-winning The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Both books have more in common than just having a vampire as a main character. The authors of Twilight and The Historian both pay impeccable attention to the little details of the setting, immersing the reader into a magical world, just as Harkness does in A Discovery of Witches.

Dr. Diana Bishop is a reluctant witch who has denied her magical abilities inherited from both her parents to pursue an academic career. In truth, she's been fooling only herself about her magical powers -- using her abilities when she needed them, and ignoring them the rest of the time. She finally has to face the fact that she's a witch when she discovers a long-lost manuscript in the Oxford University library. The book may contain many answers about magical creatures, and once word gets out about her discovery, the town of Oxford is crawling with vampires, witches and daemons.

One of the first creatures on the scene is Matthew Clairmont, a 1,500 year-old vampire who's much younger than he looks. It probably doesn't hurt that he's deadly attractive. Diana attempts to ignore him, but after he saves her life, she invites him over for dinner. And while in this world, an affair between a witch and a vampire is taboo, Matthew and Diana can't deny their attraction to one another.

A Discovery of Witches is part mystery and part romance, and as the action unfolds it takes place in various locations across the globe, it becomes a bit of travelogue too. Harkness allows the plot to take its time to get started, and the stakes are slowly raised. It isn't the kind of book that is a quick page-turner, rather A Discovery of Witches needs to be slowly devoured in delicious little bites. It allows you to slip away from the everyday ho-hum of your daily life and slip into an enchanted world filled with magical creatures where almost anything can and will happen. And isn't that the book you should take with you on your summer vacation?

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