Yes reader, I read them all. Again.
After finishing The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, I wanted to stay in the world she created a little longer. I decided to re-read the trilogy: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. It was a grand summer vacation in a place very much worth visiting.
What do I love about these books? They are full of little details. I loved knowing what wines the characters are drinking, what each creature smells like (I was so intrigued by Matthew smelling like clove pinks I started growing them in my garden), every particular about their homes and clothing, what they’re reading, what art they are surrounded with, what they like to eat (Diana is a toast AND tea fanatic like I am!), what they listen to. Harkness is a trained historian, and I enjoyed both the sense of history and the playfulness with history she weaves into the books — I totally loved how she portrayed the toothachey, cranky Elizabeth I, for example! I loved her respectful and powerful portrayal of magic and the supernatural. I loved how bookish the books are — palimpsests, traveling all over the world and back in time to look for a book, libraries, universities — ah!
The thing that I loved most, though, is the message of the trilogy: your family are not necessarily related to you, and they are the most important thing in the world. Loyalty, bravery, intelligence, and strength are to be cultivated. It’s not only ok to be different, but often your difference is your finest quality – never hide it.
And love. Don’t forget to love, no matter how heartbreaking it can be.
Thank you, Deborah Harkness, for a wonderful summer vacation.