Monday, November 10, 2014

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness


   I really think I'm hopeless at blog design!  I got the last book photo in the right place, but I can't seem to move this one from the far left.  Oh, well, a little variety is nice, yes? 

This is not the sort of book I read, ever.  But I bought it in one of the Kindle Daily Deals quite a long time ago.  I got the second one, too.  Everyone was reading this at one point, and another blogger just posted that she'd read the first two since the third is coming out shortly (or may be out now).  A couple of weeks before Halloween, I felt like reading a spooky book and I chose this one.  It's about 580 pages, but it goes quickly.

Diana Bishop is an historian and a witch, descended from generations of witches.  She, however, does not want to use her witchy powers and has resisted all her life.  Every now and then she  uses them for little things.  While doing research at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Matthew de Clermont, a vampire, sees her use witchcraft to move a book from a top shelf to her hand.

A manuscript referred to as Ashmole 782 is something that all the witches and vampires and demons have been seeking, and Diana has just unintentionally temporarily broken the spell that was put on it.  Everyone wants to know how she did it.  The powers of witches have been diminishing through the years.  Diana has powers far greater than any other witches.  Her parents had them, too, and witches killed them to try to find the source of their power.  Now everyone is after Diana to find out why she's so powerful.

She and Matthew fall in love.  But it's against the rules for any creature (vampire, witch, or demon) to mate with / love a different kind of creature.  Matthew and Diana defy the rules.  They go to Matthew's mother's castle in France to elude the creatures hunting for Diana.  As a vampire, Matthew's mother doesn't like witches, but she comes to accept that Diana is important to Matthew.  She even comes to like her and protect her.

The story moves to New York state, where Diana's aunts, Sarah and Emily, live.  They raised her after her parents were killed.  They're witches, too, and live in a house that is, well, let's say it's animated.  It has a mind of its own, it knows when company is coming and creates new rooms for the guests.  It shows displeasure by slamming doors, or acceptance by opening them.  It creaks and groans.

A war between the vampires, the witches, and the demons is brewing.  Matthew calls the Knights of Lazarus to arms.  Others are on their side, too, demons and witches and vampires who want to love whomever they choose.  This could get interesting with all the occult powers flying around!

I enjoyed the book despite my trepidation.  I've never read any of the contemporary vampire or witch books, only the classics like Dracula and a few others.  It's adventure, it's romance. 

This is clearly the first of a trilogy because it ends with Matthew and Diana timewalking back into the 1590s to escape the witch hunt and to find witches who still had great powers and could teach Diana how to use hers.  At the end of the book  -  they're just gone.


  1. Hmm, you make me tempted. Will you be reading the other books?

    1. I will probably read the next one because I already have it on my Kindle. But I probably won't read it for a while. I like to mix my reading up a bit, although I know I read too many mysteries. I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, but I liked the first half more than the second half. I think the book could have been shorter. I am curious about what happens to Diana and Matthew, though.