10 May 2012

Thursday Tea: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The Book: I'm not sure why I waited so long to read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, considering I've had a copy of the book for more than a year. I finally took the advice of one of my best friends (not a blogger) and downloaded the audio and started listening. I was immediately hooked.

I really loved the story about Diana Bishop (historian and reluctant witch) and Matthew Clairmont (geneticist and vampire) and the ancient book Diana finds in the Bodleian Library. Although I wanted Diana to be a bit stronger and more self-assured, I didn't let that stop me from being swept along in this tale of mystery, action, and love.

Harkness's take on the nature of vampires, witches, and daemons is refreshing and fun. Diana, for reasons I'll not reveal here, doesn't understand her past or the power of her family and so we learn right along with her. Matthew, on the other hand, has lived for almost two thousand years and knows very well who he is. I especially liked to see the historian in Diana light up when she realizes that Matthew actually met the people she has only read about or was a firsthand witness to events that she is studying.

The audio edition was read by Jennifer Ikeda, who did a wonderful job with the accents and characterizations. She was equally at home with the action scenes and the more tender moments between our two heroes.

For more about A Discovery of Witches, watch this short video of Deborah Harkness on a walking tour of Oxford:

The Tea: Although Diana and her aunts would prefer a pot of tea, I took a tip from Matthew and chose wine instead. One of our favorite wines of late is a red blend by Rex Goliath called Free Range. Here's the producer's tasting notes: "With big and juicy red fruit flavors, this wine is smooth and easy to share with your fellow red wine adventurer." It's all that and still on the dry side and fairly inexpensive. We've been buying it by the big bottle.

The Assessment: I'm going out on limb that Matthew would tolerate this wine. But considering that he has wine from the year of the comet in his cellar, I doubt this is going to become a big favorite of his. Diana might go for it, however. One of her aunts prefers scotch, which is fine by me; I'd be happy to join her in a wee dram. In keeping with the original theme of this feature, I need to say there are plenty of tea lovers in A Discovery of Witches, but I think I'm going to hang out with Matthew.

What About You? What would I find in your mug or glass? And do tell me what you're reading this week.

Buy A Discovery of Witches at an Indie, Powell's, Book Depository, or a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Published by Penguin USA / Viking 2011
ISBN-13: 9780670022410
Source: audio = bought; hardback = review (see review policy)
t © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)
FTC: I buy all teas (and wine!) myself, I am not a tea reviewer (but would be happy to become a wine reviewer).


Sandy Nawrot 5/10/12, 6:27 AM  

I'm liking this transition over to wine! It is 6:30am so I am not drinking wine yet (the day is young and it has not been a good week though!). I have not read this book yet, and it is driving me mad because 98% of bloggers that read it, liked it. I got it from the library on audio, but it was MP3 and I couldn't figure out how to get it on the iPod. Too long to read it print. Someday.

Jaclyn 5/10/12, 6:28 AM  

I felt the same way - loved the romance and the history (and oh, loved Diana's affinity for libraries!) but sometimes I felt that she was too weak and lacked confidence. I couldn't imagine eating because a man tells me I'm hungry, or going to bed because a man tells me I'm sleepy. I'm hoping that she will have a little more oomph and girl power in the next book.

Sandy Nawrot 5/10/12, 6:33 AM  

But you know what, now I am thinking about authors and tours of their books. Anne Rice and New Orleans? Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Barcelona? My brain just clicked on.

Alex 5/10/12, 6:59 AM  

I have tried to read A Discovery of Witches for a while now, but couldn't get into it, even though Oxford is a familiar place to me. Maybe my mistake was leaving out the wine part. I think I will give that a try now.

Daryl 5/10/12, 8:35 AM  

I downloaded this ebook earlier this week and am looking forward to it ... I am still madly in love with PG Tips and only drink Malbec, because its the only red wine that does not give me a headache .. L'Chaim!

bermudaonion 5/10/12, 9:31 AM  

My sister loved that book too! I had hot cinnamon spice tea this morning and it was so good. I'm reading, and loving, Beach House Memories and hope to finish it today.

Allison 5/10/12, 11:21 AM  

I've been drawn to that book for a while. Something about the cover is just so intriguing but.. I don't know. I am a bit vampired out. I may have to give it a try sooner than later, though. :)

Zibilee 5/10/12, 12:54 PM  

This was one of my favorite books from last year, so I am really glad to see that you loved it! I would have to agree that Matthew would indeed drink some amazing wine. I am anxiously waiting the sequel. It was a book that I haven't been able to forget. Great review, and I love the move to wine!

Nise' 5/10/12, 1:19 PM  

I had this book home once, it went back unopened. Guess I need to get it back and give it a try.

The Well Read Fish 5/10/12, 6:51 PM  

Honestly, I just didn't like this book as much as I had hoped. Yes, I enjoyed reading it enough. But thought it was overhyped.

Maybe I should have something stronger in my glass. . . right now it's just fresh oj or root beer.

I'm finishing up a running book, Born to Run. I think anyone would like it, even if they weren't a runner.

Julie P. 5/10/12, 7:13 PM  

I received book 2 a few weeks ago! YAY!

Melissa O. 5/10/12, 9:56 PM  

I had just heard about this book for the first time within the last week from a friend on Facebook. Your post has me even more intrigued, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous,  5/11/12, 7:08 AM  

I read this book some time ago and absolutely loved it! By the sound of things from one of the commenters above, the second book should be out soon. I must investigate! By the way, I love your statement at the bottom saying that you'd love to become a wine reviewer! Me too ;)

Rose Ann P,  5/11/12, 8:49 AM  

I just received a copy of this from Penguin last week. I am looking forward to starting it soon!

Karen White 5/11/12, 9:56 AM  

I have seen that wine at Trader Joe's I think! Will have to check it out.
And the book of course. I am not usually drawn to the paranormal books (Mortal Instrument series excepted) but this sounds like a refreshing take.

For those having difficulties with audio tech stuff, there is a great Goodreads Group called Audiobooks and they are all very helpful with teaching you how to use various formats.

Andi 5/11/12, 11:17 AM  

This one was a lot of fun. It busted my slump and got me ready for OUTLANDER, so I can't complain. lol Looking forward to the next book to see how Diana's character and "talents" develop.

Julie 5/11/12, 11:17 AM  

I just saw that wine at the store yesterday. Looks like I'll have to be picking up a bottle soon!

Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) 5/11/12, 5:53 PM  

I read this book when it first came out and loved it, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to fit in a reread before the sequel comes out soon. The audio version sounds like a great idea - that one I can work in no problem!

Kailana 5/12/12, 11:22 AM  

I am glad to see you are enjoying this. I look forward to the sequel coming out very soon!

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