I have been missing in action online for nearly 3 days because I was busy reading A Discovery of Witches every free moment I had. I enjoyed reading this book IMMENSELY, even though I think it is way too long. I purchased the book in hardcover format. There are 43 chapters and 579 pages to read. I feel that this story could have still been very well told in much less chapters and in about 350 pages instead. Deborah Harkness goes way overboard with some of her descriptions in this book and spend too much time on some scenes. Never-the-less I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches very much and I am so glad it was recommended to me. I now want to listen to the audio version, so I purchased it just a few minutes ago. Since A Discovery of Witches was such a long drawn out story, I decided to experience the sequel, Shadow of Night, in audio version only, so I purchased that as well. Since I am an audible dot com member I got both audio books at no cost. I simply used my credits to get them.
UPDATE: (9/01/2013) – I recently read ADOW again, and the second time around I breezed through it and did not find the book too long or tedious with the descriptions. Go figure!
A discovery of Witches is written by Deborah Harkness who is a professor of history. The book was released on February 8, 2011 and immediately debuted at #2 on the NY Times bestseller list. In the summer of 2011 Warner Brothers purchased the film rights. The reviews for A Discovery of Witches is actually quite mixed. Either people love it or hate it. I loved it! If you are really into traditional religion you may not like it at all because this book is a love story involving a vampire and a witch. I know people who refuse to read Harry Potter on the grounds that it is work of the devil. If you have that idea about Harry Potter then you may as well save your money and time on this book. I read all the Harry Potter books and loved them. I had no problem with this book because I long ago stopped acknowledging any beings such as the devil, satan or whatever you want to call such negative energies. To me, there is ONLY God, so I did not feel threatened by this book. I remember watching Dark Shadows when I was a little girl and being intrigued by Barnabas Collins and his love for Josette. The witch Angelique was always wrecking havoc in Collinswood though because she wanted Barnabas for herself.
All I will say about A Discovery of Witches is that it is mainly a love story. Professor Matthew Clairmont is a vampire who is described as very handsome, very tall, extremely charming, a gentleman, well dressed, wealthy, and a connoisseur of wine who almost immediately falls deeply in love with a witch named Diana Bishop. Diana is a professor of alchemical history at Oxford University in England who is extremely intelligent, but in many ways also like a naive little girl. Diana falls madly in love with Matthew in return.
You cannot help but fall for Matthew Clairmont yourself. The professor treats the woman he loves with such precious delicacy, such total devotion and goes beyond the Knight in Shining Armour. His love for Diana is complete and he goes out of his way to protect her. As a vampire Matthew’s senses are very sharp and are especially heightened when he is around Diana. The way Matthew smells Diana is very sensuous and sexy. He is always touching her in some way and using his other senses to connect with her. When Matthew invites Diana over to his place for dinner I was enjoying it as much as Diana was. Matthew is so smooth and classy. I never got tired of the wine tasting scenarios throughout the book. I just loved how Matthew was teaching Diana to recognize the different flavors in wine.
I love romance novels and have literally read hundreds of them, but this is the first love story I ever read where the hero is so very physically and verbally demonstrative throughout the entire length of the book. There is no doubt that Matthew is deeply in love with Diana and it shows in his actions and words on almost every page. How can you not fall for a man like that even if he is a vampire…LOL When Diana began to suffer through witchwater I was right there with her because girl, that would have been me too if I was in her shoes. Diana did get on my nerves from time to time though. For such an intelligent woman she was always choosing the wrong moments to be stubborn and argue with Matthew.
I am not going to get into specifics about the events in the storyline. You will have to read the book yourself. It does contain a lot of descriptive scenes and sometimes reads like a college history textbook. If you can get past that to just enjoy the characters and the storyline you will enjoy this book. You may want to go with the audio version if getting through such thick books are challenging for you. A lot of people found this book boring to read through so that is why I recommend the audio version. As I already wrote, this book is way too long. I love to read and really enjoyed the story and characters so I found it only mildly challenging to get through. Deborah Harkness is obviously a University scholar.
The Bodleian library at Oxford University is an important locale in the book. I looked it up online and was ecstatic to learn that it is a real library at the University and not made up. A good portion of the book also takes place in France as well as England. I love the locations that Deborah Harkness chose for this book.
Isn’t the library exquisite? Their website is really interesting too. Click on Bodleian Libraries University of Oxford.
The entire time that I was reading A Discovery of Witches I had Richard Armitage (NOT Hugh Jackman) in my head as Matthew Clairmont. Richard is Professor Matthew Clarmont ALL THE WAY!!! If Warner Brothers doesn’t cast Richard Armitage in this role I will lose all respect for all filmmakers the world over. Matthew Clairmont is very handsome, but since he is a vampire, he is also described as extremely white and I have seen pictures of Richard where he looked like he hadn’t been in the sun in years.
Below are some photos of Richard where he can easily pass for the living dead.
UPDATE – 5/13/2013: I am specifically referring to the lighting and makeup used in these photos.
I found the character of Matthew Clairmont much more interesting than I ever found Thorin Oakenshield. I think that this trilogy can do for Richard Armitage what Wolverine did for Hugh Jackman. Of course it is not really fair to judge both characters since we have not yet seen the other two installments of The Hobbit. After reading A Discovery of Witches I see more layers to Matthew Clairmont than Thorin. Matthew Clairmont would be such a switch from anything Richard has done in the past. Well actually as I think more on it, RA would be using his brains a lot in this movie and I did see that in the Lucas North character. Matthew Clairmont is very brainy and I find smarts very sexy in a man. There are so many facets to Matthew With the right director and a great screenplay I can see Richard Armitage unfolding as Matthew Clairmont in three installment movies. I am very interested in seeing how it will unfold. Will there be one movie? I cannot see a movie based on this book being less than two and half hours long. A lot would have to be cut out. To do justice it would be better to make this a 4 part miniseries like the BBC did with North & South, but it looks like it will be a regular movie.
Please support the campaign for Richard Armitage to be cast as Matthew Clairmont.
I was trying to think of who I would love to see play Diana Bishop. I loved Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale, but I cannot picture her as Diana Bishop. Maybe Jennifer Aniston? Diana Bishop is not an Englishwoman, she is an American witch. I would not mind seeing either Jennifer Aniston or Scarlett Johansson as Diana Bishop. I can even see Kerry Washington as Diana, but I bet fans of the book would have a fit. Kerry is a fabulous actress though. I have seen her work and she is extremely talented. Kerry is now in a TV series called Scandal that comes on every Thursday night. I have never watched it, but I hear from friends that the show is addictive and that Kerry is superb in it. My top picks to play Diana Bishop so far are Scarlett and Kerry. My ONLY pick for Matthew Clairmont is the Armitage.
UPDATE (9/01/2013) – I now realize the Diana Bishop really has to be white. If she was black it would alter Matthew and Diana’s experiences when they time travel. I did not think about that when I first wrote this blog post. My favorite to play Diana is Mamie Gummer.
I give this book 4 Stars.