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A Fun, Historical Adventure.
on 23 July 2015
I enjoyed The Discovery of Witches to the extent that I've read it a good few times now so it seemed only fitting to give the much awaited sequel a go. One of my favourite parts of the last book was the historical mentions from time to time so I could barely contain my excitement when I found at the end of the previous book that we would be going back to the Elizabethan era to try and find those missing pages from Ashmole 782!
Of course, Diana and Matthew are magnets for trouble so all sorts of happenings occur whilst we meet Matthews former friends from years ago. It was particularly interesting to get to meet some "famous" characters and names that I recognised from this era but it was also quite fun to read about how Matthew would have known these characters. Obviously, you need to have an open mind with this because Harkness does take a few liberties, but I still enjoyed this aspect of the novel and thought she did a great job of piecing this together.
I really did want to love this book, and I wasn't expecting not to, but I did find myself a little swamped with information. Harkness goes on and on about how Diana is beneath Matthew in terms of their hierarchy, particularly when it comes to how she should behave in his household - I found this a bit too much, a few mentions would have been enough! Additionally, because of all the lengthy descriptions of seemingly unimportant things such as what skirt Diana is wearing, not a lot happens for QUITE a long time.
Honestly, the best part for me was meeting some of the more memorable characters from History. I loved the chapters which included anything to do with Queen Elizabeth and I adored the way her character was written; it was refreshing to see Harkness throw in a bit more humour and play around with this character. However, I'm not sure I really spent any time whilst reading enjoying Diana or Matthew. In fact, I feel like I might have lost a bit of my love for them because of Matthew's persistently "woe-is-me, I've had a horrible, long, depressing life" stories and Diana's "I'd die for you" mentality. Maybe I'm just cynical.
It has to be said that Harkness does write very well; she literally couldn't have fit more historical knowledge in there even if she did play with the truth a little bit. I did enjoy this book, perhaps not as much as the previous because of how excessive some of her descriptions were, and I did feel that Diana lost a lot of her spark because she was made to seem like Matthew's partner rather than a character unto herself. Despite this I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the previous book in the series, but be aware that you'll need to be patient and probably have something soft to throw the book at from time to time when you get frustrated!!