Welcome to thebookkat book club! I am very excited to be here; I have a fantastic book club that I have been a part of for over a year now and I am looking forward to continuing the conversation! I started my book club with a hope of spending time with some like-minded people, people who love to read and want to talk about books. We have a wonderful time together and I am looking forward to creating a space here where we can do the same. I look forward to hearing the opinions of others – it is both challenging and exciting when someone’s view opposes your own. It presents an opportunity to expand your knowledge and to view new ways of thinking. Each person will approach this in a different way based on our studies or experiences and our emotional reactions are often personal. My only rule is that we respect the opinions of others; no opinion is wrong just because it is different. So… let’s do what we came here to do!
“It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches…”
There are many reasons why I love A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. In the lead up to reading it, I saw it everywhere I went but I was reluctant to pick it due to a rather intense dislike for a certain other vampire series. Despite my love of ‘witchy’ tales, I didn’t want to read another helpless love story where a wealthy, strong and charismatic vampire sweeps a vulnerable and needy human female off her feet. One day, I had a customer return to the bookstore I was working in to tell me that she had loved the book I recommended to her (The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – one of my absolute favourites) and that she thought I would really enjoy A Discovery of Witches. So I bought a copy, took it home and sat down to read. It took me a quite a while to get into it – Diana was annoying to start with and I found myself rolling my eyes as the stereotypical vampire appeared on the scene. A whirlwind romance ensued and I felt as though I was reading what I had read before. I kept reading and found myself getting sucked in! There is something slightly addictive about this story but where I expected a stereotypical love story I was given so much more.
Deborah Harkness is an academic historian of science (17th century) by trade and so this novel is rich (and at times a little heavy) in historical and scientific research however I found both of these aspects equally fascinating and absorbing. What I love most about this story is the characters. Harkness’ descriptions are detailed and thorough and I love the way they appear in my mind. Diana and Matthew are rounded and whole but Harkness has not limited this to her main characters. My favourite character of the trilogy appears in book two but in book one, Matthew’s ‘mother’ Ysabeau stands out as being strong and fierce and incredibly loyal when it comes to her family. She is not ruled by her emotion and demands to be respected. Despite some strong patriarchal ideas regarding family and life, the female characters are strong, intelligent and capable. The male characters are equally as enjoyable and they round out a very engaging cast!
A Discovery of Witches is a genuine pleasure to read – it is thoughtful and intricate and even though it was slow going to start with, I counted down the days until I could jump into book two!
Finally, the titles we will be discussing in the next month will be:
August 18th: The Harp in the South by Ruth Park
September 1st: Magician by Raymond E. Feist.
I look forward to reading them both for the first time!
So over to you – what do you think of A Discovery of Witches?