A Discovery of Witches is about 100 pages too long, but the book is a good read. In fairness to author Harkness, I must tell you that I don’t like romances and if Harkness had edited a good deal of the vacuous romance out I would have given the book five stars.
Giving Harkness her due, the history and science in this novel is what kept me reading! The University of Oxford was also a wonderful setting for opening of the story and lent the novel the proper air of mystery. These aspects of the novel are what earned Harkness four stars instead of three.
The novel begins when Dr. Diana Bishop, a rather reluctant witch and expert on the history of alchemy, retrieves a bewitched manuscript from the archives of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The bewitched manuscript, which can only be accessed by Diana Bishop, is a book that witches, vampires, and daemons believe to hold the story of their origins and the secret of immortality. Almost immediately the supernatural creatures begin to gather at the library. One of those creatures is a 1,500-hundred-year-old vampire named Matthew de Clermont, and that is where the forbidden romance comes in to play.
I enjoyed this book and will probably read the second book in the trilogy, Shadow of Night. I do hope the story is still heavy on history and mystery and considerably lighter on romance!
Book Details: Published by Penguin (December 27, 2011), 592 pages, ISBN: 0143119680 .