A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This intriguing title weaves together the themes of romance, suspense, historical research and genetic studies into a surprisingly cohesive story. The main character is historian Diana Bishop, related to Bridget Bishop made famous by the Salem Witch Trials.  While doing research in one of the Oxford University libraries, she stumbles across an enchanted manuscript from the seventeen hundreds.  Since Diana has always avoiding learning to use her own magic, despite her very talented parents, she dismisses its quirks and has it returned to the stacks by the clerk at the end of the  day.  This simple discovery starts a series of events that will impact Diana, not just professionally but personally, too.  Suddenly, she has attracted the entree paranormal world f Great Britain, including witches, daemons and vampires.  A handsome, charming vampire named Matthew Clairmont has an interest in the manuscript, too, but seems to be just as interested in Diana, pursuing her until she finally agrees to dinner with him, even though her aunt who raised her taught her that witches (even non-practicing ones) and vampires cannot even be friends, much less date.  As you can imagine, more than dating soon develops.

Harkness’s debut novel has much to speak in its favor: it’s suspenseful, fast-paced, hard to put down and even has a forbidden romance story thrown in for good measure.  For my taste, it was a little heavy on the romance, but I’m sure that will be a positive for many readers.  I recommend this book to fans of paranormal romances, horror fans, and readers who liked the Twilight series before we all got tired of it.

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