Monday, April 16, 2012

A Discovery Of Witches

A Discovery Of Witches
Deborah Harkness

Amazon Blurb -

In Harkness's lively debut, witches, vampires, and demons outnumber humans at Oxford's Bodleian Library, where witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. Against all occult social propriety, Bishop turns for protection to tall, dark, bloodsucking man-about-town Clairmont. Their research raises questions of evolution and extinction among the living dead, and their romance awakens centuries-old enmities. Harkness imagines a crowded universe where normal and paranormal creatures observe a tenuous peace. "Magic is desire made real," Bishop says after both her desire and magical prowess exceed her expectations. Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open.

Diana Bishop is a major historian.  She loves it and holds a doctorate in the subject, she went to Yale and now is at Oxford.  Being a witch is something she doesn't connect with, hides it actually.  While in the library doing her usual research an ancient manual, Ashmole 782 lands in her pile of books, it is enchanted and all the supes want to get their hands on it. Diana just returns it to the librarian with the rest of her books and all hell basically breaks loose.

In Harkness' tale the supes consist of witches, vampires and demons.  Matthew Clairmont is an ancient vamp who has his eye on Diana. He see's that all the otherworldly are now after her, wanting her to get that book back again and he becomes her protector.  Of course romance blossoms even though there is a Congregation that forbids the mix of species.

It ends on a cliffhanger since this is #1 of 3 with Diana and Matthew's families getting involved in helping  Diana be safe.  There is some humor and some violence, even a few sniffles for me.  What this book isn't - pnr or uf, you won't find Night Huntress or The Blackdagger Brotherhood type of love scenes in here, nor is there world building such as Kate Daniels or Rachel Morgan.  It is actually very tame, with the author building the tension between the two protagonists.

I liked this book a lot it's been on my bookshelf for many months now and I'm glad I picked it up.  It was long, 592 pgs and took me several days to read, it didn't have that all out page turner anxiety in it, but worth it in my opinion.  Diana and Matthew were wonderful characters as were all the side players as well.  Her aunt Sarah was quite funny and Matthew's Maman Ysabeau was great.  To see both these woman eventually put aside the hatred of the others species was a wonderful part of the story. I will most certainly read the next, Shadow Of Night when it comes out in July.

4 cannoli's


  1. Thanks for reviewing this one, Paula. I've heard such nice things about it, but haven't been strongly compelled to pick it up. I know my library has it.. so maybe the urge will strike me at some point. It does sound good.

    On a sidenote, have you read Lover Reborn yet??

  2. Got it from the library :) I'll start it on Wednesday after I finish my book club book


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