Written by: Deborah Harkness
Published on: 8 February 2011
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, Romance novel, Alchemy
Blurb: When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.
Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist.
Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…
My Review: I should begin by saying that I read this book via apple audio book, and I am so glad that I did! The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda did such a wonderful job!
Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont are fabulous. I adored them both and I particularly revelled in the beautiful language and style of Harkness’ writing – OMG some of those descriptions were exquisite!
From the moment the story began I was seduced by the intelligent and almost hypnotic use of language. This book is not one thing. It is many, many genres and it fits them all beautifully; by far the best thing I have read in a long time.
Diana Bishop is a fierce and brave Historian who is intelligent, athletic…and a witch. I didn’t find her character to be annoying OR bitchy, which can often be the case. The historical aspect of the fiction is woven so beautifully in with the fantasy and supernatural, along with the discrete and sensual romance, that every chapter plays like a reel of film in your mind. I was utterly captivated.
As for Matthew – he is a man of many times and each layer we unfurl offers more and more surprises. At times his need to ‘protect’ Diana means he withholds things and that was a little frustrating, but it is clear why and it plays out successfully.
Sept Tour is a place I long to be and I can’t wait to see if we visit there again in the next book. I don’t want to give too much else away, so I’ll end with this: it was magical!
5 ✨ read!!
Lots of love
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