Reading A Discovery of Witches was an obsession. It was desperately romantic, historic, literary and full of magic. Deborah Harkness blends paranormal, romance and historical fiction into one amazing novel. I don't know if I can express how much I loved this book. It is not a short novel, well over 500 pages of history and intensity. Harkness is a historian, like Diana, the main character. She also loves wine (and had a wine blog), this trait comes out in Diana's love interest, Matthew. Harkness's love of both history and wine permeates the novel, but it is seamless, as they are easily taken as traits belonging to Diana and Matthew. Harkness makes the pages of alchemical manuscripts come alive through Diana's descriptions of them. Matthew adds depth to history with his "recollections". The way she writes about history is with love. It makes me want to read one of her historical books, maybe The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution? That's how wonderful I am left feeling after a Discovery of Witches, I will read anything Deborah Harkness writes at this point.
I adored every character. Diana and Matthew were brilliant. It just wasn't there relationship that was wonderful, it was how they existed apart from each other before coming together. They had careers, pasts, goals for the future. I loved Diana's need to understand the past and Matthew's scientific inquiry. For a minute there, early on in the story, when Matthew is watching Diana sleep, I wondered if I'd end up with grown up Bella and Edward, but thankfully nope. Still, guys, it was creepy. Harkness seemed to "address" the creep factor, showing that it was wrong within the story, not some romantic gesture.
I loved Marcus, Matthew's vampire son. He was young and full of energy. I loved his context within Matthew's family. I loved Matthew's family. Diana's family, just wonderful.
I enjoyed the relationships that developed between the witches, vampires and demons in the house. Marcus and Em seemed to have a special connection. Marcus and Nathaniel too. I wonder if they'll get up to trouble in one of the future books. Sarah and Matthew also developed some kind of respect and understanding. The growth of Diana and Ysabeau's relationship was interesting. I am excited to see them all under one roof.
I loved all the places they went too. Oxford, a castle in France, a small town in New York. They were each so different from each other, but Harkness made them all feel real.
I'm not going to be satisfied until I get my hands on Shadow of Night and see what Harkness has in store for her star-crossed lovers.