Book review

The Witches are flying …

pumpkin lantern

It is Halloween and tonight the witches will grab their brooms and zoom across the dark, chilled sky. So what better than to put on your snuggly socks, grab a warming drink of tea in your favourite mug, and read a spooky book. Though, try not to jump when there is a knock on the door…

        Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

book tea witch

Witches play an important part of Halloween and there is a wide range of books based on them. One of my favourites is Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches. I loved the protagonist, Diana Bishop. As an academic studying alchemy she gets sucked into a world of vampires, witches and demons when Matthew enters her life along with a mystical, bewitched book. The existence of these creatures comes to no surprise to this strong character because she comes from a long line of witches, though she turned her back on magic years before and refuses to have it in her life. Deborah Harkness description of Oxford’s All Souls College and the Bodleian Library attracts the inner bibliophile as you want to experience the atmosphere yourself. The developing, forbidden relationship between Diana and vampire, Matthew makes you unable to just read one chapter at a time. The collection of characters you meet remain with you long after you close the book for the final time. Some you love, admire and respect while others make your blood boil as they enter a scene. The trilogy grabs you into a journey of discovery of self, love, prejudice and a world through time. It will leave you wanting more.


Hubble bubble, too many books cause trouble …

The nights are drawing in and it is fast approaching the spookiest time of the year! Inspired by this, the book clubs theme this month is anything linked to Halloween. This covers so many genres, I am struggling to decide what to read. There are, of course, the genre of horror and authors such as Stephen King, Shaun Hutson and Dean Koontz, instantly came into my mind but as I still have nightmares from reading Pet Semetary as a teenager I am scared to venture to that part of the library just yet. I remember as a child taking my copy of a ladybird version of Dracula back to the shop as I was petrified the character would climb out of the book during the night.

Even now, if a book illustration  is too scary I have leave it outside the bedroom, however irrational that is.

One book I remembered while discussing tales at the book club was Skarlet by Thomas Emson. This is one I must revisit despite the fear it brings. It is definately not another version of Stephanie Meyers ‘Twilight’. The vampires are blood thirsty, heartless creatures despite their human origins. It is gruesome, quick paced with a strong protagonist. The plot is clever. As the series progresses, I found I could never look at those in Westminster in the same light again.

Other vampire books I have enjoyed is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova . Part of its appeal is the descriptions of the libraries and the librarian and the role that books play in the storyline.

There are books on witches such as the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine. Both are on my favourite list on my bookcase. There is also the classic Roald Dahl book The Witches. It is an amazing book when read as a child and an adult. I remember looking closely at people’s shoes on the way to school to check whether they had square feet or not.

Ghosts and all things supernatural are important too at this time of year when the veil between the spirits and us is thin. Of these, my favourites must be Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbet and The Ghosts by Antonia Barber. As a child I was so happy when I realised my favourite film ‘Amazing Mr Blunden’ was based on a book. I was even happier when my local library apparently stocked it. I was devastated when that copy went missing before I had chance to borrow it. It took many years before I managed to locate a copy on Ebay. It now sits pride of place on my bookcase.

There are so many books I have read and want to reread yet there is a vast selection waiting to discovered. How you decide what to read?  I have suggestions from the Book club members but  there are so many and so little time to read them all.

Think it will be a case of eeny meeny miny mo…..