What I’m Reading Wednesday: Shadow of Night

I’ve just finished “Shadow of Night” by Deborah Harkness and already I’m impatient for the third book in the All Souls Trilogy to be released – I want to know what happens next with historian Diana and scientist (and vampire) Matthew. I’m impatient like that.

Shadow of Night picks up right where “A Discovery of Witches” leaves off  (and if you haven’t read the first book, stop right here and go read it – I don’t want to spoil anything for you) with Diana and Matthew ready to time walk elsewhere in history so that Diana can find a witch to teach her (she’s avoided using her powers and so is untrained), find a book referred to as Ashmole 782, which may contain the answer to the origins of witches, daemons and vampires, while trying to stay safe from the Congregation, who are desperate to learn more about Diana’s power and who are also a little less than thrilled with the marriage between a witch and vampire.

Matthew and Diana step together through time back to Elizabethan England, to the time of Walter Raleigh, Kit Marlowe and Shakespeare. Diana delights in living in the historical period but quickly realizes that both her height, build, speech patterns and accent keep her from blending in. Matthew, on the other hand, settles back into his former life quite readily – including the bit regarding men’s attitudes towards women – which creates some strife in the relationship of this newly “married” couple.

I was reading the Kindle version, so I was not aware – until I finished the book – of the  glossary of characters that is provided at the very end of the book. Quite a few historical characters are introduced in the beginning and it did take a bit of doing to sort out who everyone was, but this is a minor niggle.

Harkness does a remarkable job at building a sense of place – Edwardian England (and Prague) come to life, as do the complex, fascinating and flawed characters introduced in this novel. She also provides answers to some lingering questions, leaves more hanging, and sets up nicely for the final book in the trilogy.

I loved every bit of this story as much as “A Discovery of Witches” (which I hungrily re-read in preparation of this release).  I will continue to stalk follow Harkness on Twitter awaiting news on the last book in the trilogy.

Next week: Jenny Colgan’s “Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams”


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