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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness

Pub. Date: February 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: Hardcover, 579pp

Average Rating 4 Stars

A Discovery of Witches, the first in the All Souls Trilogy, is a magical adventure, a cross between Harry Potter, Twilight and Practical Magic.
In the beginning there were myths and legends brought about by a smidgen of truth and in that truth we find Historian Diana Bishop at Oxford doing research for an upcoming lecture where she comes across a strange medieval manuscript that's locked not by a physical key but by a magical one, one that will require her to open the door to a painful past that she has stubbornly refused to acknowledge. In the shadows watching is the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont a renowned professor of genetics. Diana and Matthew soon discover that their fierce attraction to each other is not only strange but forbidden as well and they will have challenges to face the least of which is their supposed predisposed mistrust of each other's species. He is a vampire and she is a witch.
Deborah Harkness brings us an amazing story filled with fact and fiction, legend and myth and gives us a fantastical twist to the age old question of where do we come from. She brings her story to us using a plot that is both fantastic and easily believed by adopting historical references and facts and mixing them with occultist beliefs and horror stories. She will mesmerize you with her dialogue so much so that the almost 600 pages will fly by in the blink of a witch’s eye. She takes us to magical and real places with effortless and picturesque descriptive narrative as we live vicariously the lives of her characters through our eyes by her words. She also gives us characters none of which we've ever experienced before by making them unbelievable and real at the same time and by giving them the substance they need to make them unforgettable. The characters will each tell you their own story interspersed into the novel so that they all become an important part of the whole. Our hero Matthew and heroine Diana are two of the most unlikely lovers ever to grace the pages of a book and they will quickly become part of your must read again and again tales. Her romance is innocent and reminiscent of times long ago while also being sensual (however, there is nothing at all offensive) as to appeal to anyone. But this is much more than just a romance it's an epic tale that will alter your ideas of good vs. evil, it's a mystery of historic proportion and is filled with the fantasy we love.

I thought this book was so much fun and perfect for this time of year. The story begins on September 21st and ends on Halloween Night. (At least until Book 2)!

I loved the time they spend in Upstate New York. Her aunts are delightful and this part of the story reminded me so much of Practical Magic. I could envision that awesome old house with all its personality and ghosts. I loved how the house knew they would be having guests before anyone else and the secrets that it held and saved for just the right time. I also loved how these “natural enemies” turned to Scrabble and old movies to pass the time and to ultimately “get along”.

Diana is spellbound and reluctant and Matthew is fiercely protective and valiant. Together they try to unravel the secrets wrapped up in the manuscript and fight to be together.
I loved it and I can’t wait for “Shadow of Night”. It comes out this summer.

I give it 4 stars.