Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Vampires, Witches & Daemons all doing Yoga Together)

Vampires, witches and daemons all doing yoga together! What’s not to like?  Yes, professor of history and witch-in-denial Diana Bishop is taken to a strange and unique yoga class by her love interest Matthew, non other than a 1500 year old vampire.  Vampires and witches are not supposed to mix but this doesn’t stop Diana and Matthew from falling in love and bringing hell down on both their houses.  When Diana discovers a lost historical book, Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she suddenly becomes the centre of attention in the supernatural world.  All eyes are watching to see what her next move will be and Diana is forced to confront her life-long denial of the magic that runs through the ancestral line of Bishop women dating all the way back to Salem, Massachusetts.

This has to be one of the most intelligently written books I’ve read in a long time.  It was well researched and full of interesting historical anecdotes and lessons.  This book reminded me of Dan Brown’s novels in parts, particularly Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code and I couldn’t help picturing the character Matthew Clairmont as Robert Langdon from those Dan Brown books.

I love learning about the past and as a former history student, I enjoyed the books Diana explored, the research she carried out in the library, and the stories provided by Matthew.  He is living history but I did it find it somewhat hard to believe that he happened to know so many of history’s most renowned players but this is fiction I suppose and some suspension of disbelief is required.   As a lover of going out for meals and trying new wines myself I enjoyed Diana’s sumptuous descriptions of the food and wine they ate and drank.  The vivid depictions of Oxford and the castle estate in France were beautiful and easy to picture.

The characters were vividly evoked, from the heroine and powerful witch Diana to the gentleman/knight in shining armour Matthew and his vampire mother Ysabeau through to Diana’s aunts Em and Sarah.   Matthew is an attractive vampire both physically and intellectually but he was a little too good for my liking.  I hope to see some ‘bad boy’ elements appear in him in the next book.  On a few occasions the characters came close to consummating their ‘marriage’ but Matthew always pulled back.  Men being the ones to exercise caution seems to be a running theme in the fiction I’ve been reading lately, hmmm.  I have to admit I was cringing at times when Diana referred to Marcus as her son  and the romance was over the top but anyone who knows me or has read my blog is aware that I’m a sucker for a good love story and a hopeless romantic.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and will be purchasing the next part of the trilogy in 2012.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more action in the bedroom department 🙂 but hopefully this will be sorted in the next book.   *****

To find out more about this book from amazon click HERE

About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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9 Responses to Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Vampires, Witches & Daemons all doing Yoga Together)

  1. Indiewritersreview says:

    Really great post!…This book defintely going on my TBR list:) Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Dalya Moon says:

    That cover looks totally different from the original dark blue one (for the hardcover, I guess.) Wow, I love that cover. And you’ve intrigued me! I’d given the book a pass a few times at the book store, but you’re turning me around!

    • Emma says:

      This cover is the one I have. Think it might be the book cover those of us in Ireland and UK get. I’m glad I might be turning you around :). Someone on Twitter recommended this to me and I’m delighted I gave it a try.

  3. Sue says:

    One of my most fav scenes is when she cooks him dinner and I loved his family dynamics. Definitely a unique and wonderful book. We did read the second one too

    • Emma says:

      It’s been a while since I’ve read this one. I got the second one but couldn’t get into it. I put it aside meaning to go back to it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      • Sue says:

        yeah the second one not nearly as good -but better than most anyway

      • debsmerry says:

        I saw and I had to comment, I loved Discovery of witches on the advice of a Yoga friend I got also. But I am slowly getting disappointed to hear that the second one is not as good especially when I have just got it and haven’t read it. I hope I am not disappointed too…

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