A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. Written by a professor of history, aspects of the book have obviously been thoroughly researched. There is so much detail that it is impossible not to have an astonishing visual image of the times and places mentioned. Also, it’s another book for book lovers, too, (reminding me a bit of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova in this sense).

However, amid all the wonderful history, alchemy, and scientific research, there is also a love story, a timeless conflict promising to result in war, secrets of the main character’s power that others want to harness for their own benefit.

Diana Bishop, descended from powerful witches, lost both of her parents when she was seven years old. Since then, she has wanted to forget about witchcraft and has been intent on living her life without using her powers. In the midst of her research, she calls up a manuscript from “the stacks” that has been missing for a very long time. Upon getting her hands on Ashmole 782, she can feel the magic within the book. So she promptly takes her notes and sends the book back. But now that she has been able to recall this manuscript, she has attracted the attention of creatures, all intent on having the book for themselves. Other creatures, such as witches, vampires, and daemons.

Matthew Clairmont is one such creature. The vampire is immediately drawn to Diana and has an overwhelming desire to protect her from those who would harm her. Their suspicion of each other eventually turns to trust and to love. However, to love another creature unlike yourself is forbidden by the covenant made by the Congregation, a governing body made up of three of each creature, so many years ago. But Matthew and Diana don’t care. They refuse to allow others to dictate who they can love. Of course, this creates a world of other problems as well.

The romance between Matthew and Diana is intense, like a slow burning flame. There is quite a bit of sexual tension as well, which is still present at the end of the book. However, things are happening very quickly, and they’ve only known each other for a little over a month.

I enjoyed this book very much. It did have a bit of a slow start, but that part of the book was just introducing Diana and showing her “normal” day-to-day life, too. After Matthew was introduced, the pace did pick up quite a bit. I have read a few bad reviews of this book, and I believe those stem from the slow, meandering, very detailed pace. So for those who want to rush through life and not take time to enjoy the finer things, this book is not for you. But if you enjoy slow burning romance and appreciation of history, good wine, and of course, books, you should definitely read this book. The only complaint I have is that the next book is not yet published and I have to wait to find out what happens next.

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Blood Moon

I won Blood Moon, by A.W. Gryphon, in a Goodreads giveaway two months ago, in May. After a month of waiting, I contacted the author to make sure that my copy hadn’t been overlooked or lost along the way. She was very nice and said that she was sending it out via FedEx the next day. So I waited, for another month. I contacted the author again, letting her know I never received my copy, asking if maybe the book was available in e-book format, if that would be easier to send. Once again, I received a very nice reply, and she said that the book had been sent via FedEx and that apparently the package had been opened, marked “return to sender,” and was now at my local FedEx facility.

I hope I didn’t bother or annoy the author too much, but based on the synopsis and other reviews of the book, it was one I definitely wanted to read! So, after picking up the book, I devoured it in a single day. I wasn’t disappointed.

For seven-year-old Amelia Pivens, The Craft had always been a part of her life. And then she witnessed her mother’s murder during a Wiccan ritual. At that point, she summoned every entity possible in an attempt to save her mother, but it was too late.

Her father took her back to London and they didn’t speak of The Craft for many years. Amelia wanted to leave that part of her life behind her anyway. She grew up as a “normal” British girl, found a career she loved at an art gallery, and fell in love with Wolfgang, a German musician. It seemed that her life was finally coming together, until on her birthday one year, Wolfgang was hit by a black town car, fatally wounding him. She never stopped grieving his death. A short time later, her father became very ill, giving her a letter just moments before he died. Now, completely alone, Amelia was forced to turn back to The Craft, whether she wants to or not.

Many years ago, a legend was born about the coming of “The One,” a witch who would have ultimate power and who would be able to end the civil war between the witches and a group known simply as The Organization. This witch would be of the blood line of an ancient High Priest and High Priestess, coming from one of their children, twins separated at birth. Amelia’s friends, Jeremy and Summer, believe she is “The One,” but whether they are right or wrong will be determined on Amelia’s 28th birthday, Samhain, under a full blood moon. She will be forced to take a stand and witches everywhere will be affected by a final battle.

However, as Amelia’s power and intuition grows, much is unclear and nobody is who they seem. Has Amelia misplaced her trust? Have her attempts to release the past and let go of her feelings of anger and desired revenge for her husband’s death, in order to prepare herself to possibly accept the power, actually worked? The end of the book definitely had some twists in it, and I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter of Amelia’s story.

The story is set in modern times, but is rich in historical references. I don’t know much about Wicca or The Craft, but it did seem as if the author was very informed and had researched everything in her book. The book did have much magick in it, but it was almost more of a mystery or suspense novel when reading. But no complains. I very much enjoyed the book. It is considered the first book in the Witches Moon trilogy. I don’t know when the next book may be available, but it’s definitely on my to-read list.