With A Discovery of Witches, debut novelist Deborah Harkness has created an enchanting read that is equal parts history and magic, with some suspense and romance to boot. Diana Bishop is doing research in Oxford's Bodleian Library and comes across an alchemical manuscript. She makes a few notes and then returns it to the stacks, but the old text has been lost for centuries and its reappearance unleashes long dormant creatures of the underworld. Enter demons and witches and vampires. Of particular interest is Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist, yoga practicioner and wine connoisseur--as well as vampire. Why is he so invested in Diana?
A truly addictive story, at least for me, and it stirred up my curiosity. Harkness suggests these nonfiction titles, all of which inspired some aspect of A Discovery of Witches. Diana Bishop is descended from a long line of witches. In The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England by Carol F. Karlsen you will find out more about some of those witches--the Bishops and the Proctors--while reading a classic interpretation of what happened in Salem in 1692. Bruce Moran's Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution is a fantastic book which is extremely readable. It will give you a new appreciation for the alchemists. And, The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes provides an introduction to the study of genetics, and to the legacies that are carried from generation to generation among the population.
Submitted by Jacki @ MPL