Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I found a news story for each day of the week. Tina reviewed the mystery, The French Girl. Heather reflected on The Great British Baking Show. Gaele reviewed a book set in Tudor England (The Butcher’s Daughter), two set in Scotland (Little Pink Taxi and The Fragile Ordinary), and one set in an English seaside village (The Bakery at Seashell Cove). Sim loved the book Juliet, Naked and is looking forward to the film.
Book: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: 2011
Source: e-book from the library
Summary: Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch and an enthusiastic historical scholar, discovers something in Oxford’s Bodleian Library that could change the game for the paranormal creatures in our world. She has rejected her own heritage, so she is completely unprepared for the horde of witches, vampires, and daemons who invade the quiet sanctuary of the library. Fortunately, handsome vampire, Matthew Clairmont, understands the paranormal world and is available to guide Diana through her difficulties. But, first, they have to trust each other. And, trust among the species is actively discouraged.
Thoughts: Sim mentioned A Discovery of Witches when I talked about how much fun it is to see the Bodleian Library in episodes of Endeavour and other shows in the Inspector Morse family set in Oxford, England.
I remember seeing the cover of A Discovery of Witches before my local Borders bookstore closed, but I never got around to reading it and didn’t know that it was set largely in Oxford. In those days, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read such a chunky book — that was something I enjoyed when I was young and, only recently, picked up again.
I was also slow to read chunky books as e-books, but I’ve recently overcome that hurdle, too.
So, I breezed through A Discovery of Witches, enjoying the Oxford scenes, especially at the Bodleian Library. The characters and the plot are compelling and surprisingly real for all the fantasy elements.
Appeal: This is, at its core, a paranormal romance, but I think if you enjoy fiction about historians, you might enjoy it, too. A Discovery of Witches is the first of a trilogy. I attempted to read the second one, Shadow of Night, and didn’t get very far. It has an entirely different setting. Apparently, Oxford was more interesting to me than the characters — also, the characters change due to circumstances in the second novel and I found them less attractive. Has any one read the whole trilogy? Should I give this another chance?
Sim shared, last week, the trailer for A Discovery of Witches. It will be an eight-episode mini series on Sky One, but no date is set for a US release.
Speaking of Endeavour, next week I’ll write about Season 5.
Have you read A Discovery of Witches? What did you think?