Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart by Dion Fortune

My copy is simply entitled "Avalon of the Heart", copyright 1934. Nonetheless, this little book captures the magic of Avalon...the magic that can still be felt in Glastonbury today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution by Deborah Harkness

Like with her fiction, Harkness makes History come alive once again! This nonfiction publication drew me in as if it were a novel. I really enjoyed The Jewel House. I learned a great deal, and I highly recommend it!

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

The more I think about this book, the more I think that perhaps I was too harsh with the number of stars that I allotted to it. Not sure I'd give it 4 stars, but perhaps 3 and 1/2!

I didn't like this book as much as Kearsley's The Winter Sea. I don't think it is as well written, and I thought it was predictable. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the story...especially toward the end of the book.

The Rope (Anna Pigeon Prequel) by Nevada Barr

I liked the book, though I think this prequel might conflict with the picture Barr paints of the later Anna Pigeon in her earlier Pigeon books. As with her other books, the writing is not fantastic, but Anna Pigeon is a great character! Worth reading just for Anna.

The School of Night: A Novel by Alan Wall

I had difficulty getting into this book. Once I did, I learned very little about the School of Night. I was fascinated, though, by his analysis of Shakespeare and the question of who really wrote what is attributed to Shakespeare. In my opinion, that part of the book may warrant it a third star.

Sunday, August 5, 2012



Shadow of Night raises a dilemma for me. How can one review the sequel to a book that she considers to be the best book ever written? The best book ever written cannot be bested – even by its own sequel.

            But Deb Harkness comes very close in her sequel to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night. Very close.

            Whereas A Discovery of Witches ended with Diana and Matthew beginning their trip to Sixteenth Century Elizabethan England, Shadow of Night begins with the end of their trip to 1590.

            Shadow of Night has a panoply of interesting characters. Some are those we met in A Discovery of Witches and are further developed – for example, Philippe. Others are new – for example, Gallowglass. Some of the characters we expected to find turn out to defy our expectations – for example, Marlowe.

            Diana and Matthew develop a great deal in relationship to their marriage. As Diana struggles with being a woman in 1590 England, Matthew struggles with the complexities of his former life.

            Shadow of Night seems to move at a faster pace than A Discovery of Witches, so fast that at times it feels chaotic – not a logical, linear plot development like A Discovery of Witches. But then, it has to. With all the demands and dangers that Diana and Matthew face in 1590 England, trying to stay ahead of the turmoil and threats requires a much faster pace than the more familiar Twenty-First Century.

            But Shadow of Night, like A Discovery of Witches, is both mesmerizing and surprising. It is a pleasure to join Diana and Matthew again in their world. And once again, Harkness has succeeded in making the learning of history fun.

            While Harkness hasn’t bested the best, she has come very close. Shadow of Night is indeed bewitching. And, she leaves us eagerly anticipating her third installment in the All Souls Trilogy.