Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Okay, I know right now that some people might take issue with me calling A Discovery of Witches a great read. There were a few things I absolutely hated about the book. First of all, any book that's just half a book, that's a total cliffhanger with no attempt at a resolution, or even a partial resolution (sequel potential?) just bugs. Remember the ending of Back to the Future 2? It's similar to the ending of A Discovery of Witches. If you go into the book knowing that there's no resolution, and that this is just half of a story, then you'll probably be happier than I was when I got to page 592 and nothing wrapped up at all. Secondly, the main character, witch Diana Bishop, spends a lot of time sleeping, eating, fainting, and generally feeling under the weather. Maybe that was intentional on Harkness's part, to show how Diana is different from the vampires who populate her life, but it felt like she was a damsel in distress who needed Matthew (her vampire) to come rescue her all the time.
Those two major faults aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Discovery of Witches. It has all the longing lustiness of Twilight with the action of The DaVinci Code and the research of Elisabeth Kostova's The Historian. I think Harkness, who has been an academic and wine blogger (!) creates interesting characters and does a great job making history come to life. The audiobook is about 26 hours long, and I listened to the whole thing in three days, happily folding laundry and putting sheets on beds so I could keep listening. The story of Diana's awakening powers, her budding relationship with a 1,500 year old vampire, and her entrance into a world populated by witches, ghosts, vampires and demons kept me in its thrall. I just wish the next book were finished so I could start to read right now! Another big plus-- it's totally PG-rated! Even my friends who don't like smut can read this one with a clear conscience!