This is where I will track my witchy reading for the year. The 2017 Challenge comes from Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf. I’m aiming for at least ten witchy books. Why don’t you join the challenge too?
1. A Discovery of Witches. Deborah Harkness
During the first third of this book, I was enthralled by the author’s knowledge of rare manuscripts, and the intellectual detail embedded in the story. Deborah Harkness is a history professor, who circumnavigated the academic community, so it’s no wonder she’s at home on the Oxford campus. She’s an excellent writer and paints it in detail. Oxford is a place I’d like to visit someday–now more than ever.
The protagonist, Diana Bishop, is a witch (by Salem lineage) who rejects her power and must learn to manage it. Her parents were powerful witches, and she is still grieving their deaths. Ashmole 782 is an ancient magical manuscript that calls to her. She alone is the key, which makes her the target of several magical villains.
Enter Professor Matthew “Chiselled” Clairmont, her fifteen-hundred-year-old vampire love interest. Clairmont has his own wine cellar in the depths of All Souls College at Oxford. Yes, vampires are wine connoisseurs. The sensory descriptions make me want to crash dinner. On one of their “dates” he impresses Diana with his historical name-dropping and knowledge of wine.
He sniffed, twirled, and tasted. “Violets–I agree with you there. Those purple violets covered with sugar. Elizabeth Tudor loved candied violets, and they ruined her teeth.” He sipped again. “Cigar smoke from good cigars, like they used to have at the Marlborough Club when the Prince of Wales stopped in. Blackberries picked wild in the hedgerows outside the Old Lodge’s stables and red currants macerated in brandy” (174).
This book has a romantic subplot: vampire-witch forbidden love. A sculpted voyeur, clever and controlling; Clairmont functions so well as an antagonist, he triggers me–raises my hackles, and makes me want to scream, “Run Diana! Run!” Emotional engagement is the mark of a good book–that’s what readers and writers want. Clairmont shows all the signs of an abusive boyfriend, and I am concerned for our protagonist, who is beguiled and lost in his charms.
By the end of the book, I take a breath, though I still don’t trust him. Diana is becoming aware of his controlling nature, and beginning to find herself, along with her power. But, can she change a fifteen-hundred-year-old vampire set in his patriarchal ways? Sweep him into the Twenty-first century?
I am assured by fans that this is just the beginning. Book One of the All Souls Trilogy. I must read the other two books to appreciate the epic problems, Deborah Harkness has created for this duo, and see Diana rise to the full extent of her heroic power.
2. To Charm a Killer. WL Hawkin
I wrote this book and published it recently. It concerns a coven of witches who solve murders while engaging in witchy practices such as: divination, meditation, chanting, rituals, and spell casting. I read it about fifty times last year and continually refer to it.
3. To Sleep With Stones. WL Hawkin
And I wrote the sequel. Wiccan High Priest, Estrada travels to Scotland to free a friend imprisoned for murder. It’s set in Kilmartin Glen, an archaeological mecca in the Inner Hebrides.
I am currently formatting this novel for a spring launch, so it’s a ongoing read. I’m also seeking a cover–if you have any ideas, please comment.
“To Sleep With Stones” can offer a window into the past; it can also get you jailed for murder.