Back in March 2015 I finally read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness; the first book in Harkness’ All Souls trilogy. I was hoping to get round to the second book sooner, however I picked up Shadow of Night in December 2015 and it was a long read.
Diana Bishop has some powerful enemies and is no longer safe in our time. Fearing kidnap, torture and death Diana makes the drastic decision to leave her home and family to time walk back to a safer time; where she can learn to control her new powers. Based on Matthew’s past experience they travel together back to Elizabethan England. Here Diana must learn the etiquette and dress of a noble lady, step carefully through the politics of court, and avoid the witch hunts that are rife across Europe. While all the time on the hunt for the bewitched manuscript, Ashmole 782.
I particularly enjoyed the setting and the history of this book. In this time period Matthew steps back into the role of poet and spy for Elizabeth I; and a leading member of the creative group known as the School of Night; an eclectic mix of vampires, daemons and humans. Other members include Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh and Thomas Harriot. It was fascinating to meet these famous faces and on reading the author’s notes I discovered that many of the other characters were based on real historical figures too; again I was really impressed with Harkness’ research and eye for detail.
In the past love between a vampire and a witch is still forbidden so Diana and Matthew’s marriage is looked upon as in name only, and it needs to remain that way if they wish to stay safe. I enjoyed how Diana flowered in her powers and confidence in the past but in a male dominated world I found Matthew’s more dislikeable vampire traits came to the fore; such as possessive-ness and paranoia. Which meant I still found Diana and Matthew’s relationship my least favourite aspect of these books. Fortunately I still loved the detailed and immersive style and world Harkness conjures; and all the historical, alchemical, literary and art references and details that were included kept me hooked!
Shadow of Night is another detailed and well written paranormal romance in a historical setting. I look forward to completing the trilogy with The Book of Life which is waiting on my Kindle for me. Good read.
Have you read this? Have you enjoyed other paranormal romances?