Review: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness

by Deborah Harkness
Hardcover: 579 pages
Published: February 8th 2011 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2011) 
ISBN: 0670022411 (ISBN13: 9780670022410)
A Discovery of Witches: All Souls Trilogy #1
Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.
For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.
Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

My Thoughts:

Vampires, Witches and Daemons, OH MY!! Deborah Harkness has cast a spell on me that has left me enchanted with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. I could seriously kick myself for not having read this book sooner because I truly enjoyed it. I know that I could not go anywhere last year without seeing this beautifully impressive book on bookshelves everywhere. So, I believe I was spellbound until recently and once the spell was lifted I was able to enjoy listening to it on my long commute, Yesssssssss!! happiness abounds.

Diana Bishop is spellbound emotionally stunted witch that encounters a bewitched book that may hold the mysteries to otherworldly creatures. Unfortunately for her, the discovery of this manuscript brings the interest and scrutiny of many to her and only Mathew Clairmont, vampire extraordinaire, can seem to protect her.  With A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, I have fallen "in love" again with the supernatural beings that rule the night.  Deborah Harkness has made me go ga-ga for Mathew Clairmont with all his many years of experience, his secret sect, his adoration of wine and his love for Diana Bishop. *sigh* I relished every moment he graced the pages and adored his possessive interactions with Diana. Together they made this book the romantic fluff that I love. It is not to say that I did not adore this novel's heroine because I totally did. Diana Bishop is the most reluctant witch with the most amazing abilities that always surprised me and had me saying "no way, that's awesome!!" and when her most unbelievable ability came to light I knew exactly where this story was going to go next. Squeee!

This book had me on a constant roller coaster ride of adventure with non-stop plot twists and turns and the resplendent locations that left me in awe and in jealous wonder. I also admired all the historical details and the uniquely inventive world that Deborah Harkness has created with this epic story.  It was also quite evident that this author has a great appreciation for wine for I have never such glorious descriptive prose that were so sensual and poetic in nature. It made me want to drink copious amounts of wine and that says alot for I am not a connoisseur of wine.

Although I love this book to pieces, I will admit that I did found some situations a bit long winded and that certain passages could have been tightened up or omitted altogether. It is not to say that these moments were poorly executed, they are beautifully done but I believe that it makes certain parts drag and some readers might loose patience and stop reading. Not me, as you can tell. I could go into detail, not as splendidly as Deborah Harkness has, but that is a discovery you will have to make on your own. 

I believe this book is a good read for anyone that enjoys a read full of mystery, romance and a good touch of magic that will surely keep you entranced. I also highly recommend that if you choose to read  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES that you try listening to it on audiobook  because the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda has done a spectacular job with all the accents and it makes the story that much more amazing.

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“Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown.”

Look for Shadow of Night on 10 July 2012.


  1. This is impressive.Magic can be found anywhere, if we know where to look.This is a must read. Thanks for the good reviews!AML

  2. I have this one sitting on my shelf and I can't wait to read it. I would check out the audiobook otherwise though. Thanks for recommending it and great review!


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