A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
When Diana Bishop, a historian specialising in the study of alchemy, finds an enchanted book in her pile of requests at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she is unnerved by the promise of its power. Diana turned her back on the magic that is in her blood a long time ago. But returning the manuscript can’t reverse a chain reaction of events already set in motion. Oxford is soon teeming with other ‘creatures’, among them Matthew Clairmont, a vampire with a very personal interest in the manuscript that it seems only Diana can access. As her life becomes more entangled with Matthew’s, and more crowded with creatures, her magic begins to resurface – whether she wants it or not.
An excellent title and intriguing blurb were enough to make me pick up A Discovery of Witches, but it was a struggle to finish it. I took a deep dislike to the character of Matthew from the start – his possessive, controlling behaviour towards Diana was disturbing, as was Diana’s quick acceptance of his heavy handed presence in her life. There were clever elements to the story, including a house haunted by witches and the application of alchemical allegories to modern science, but I cannot say I enjoyed this book at all.