When I was just eight, my parents packed up me and my brother and we boarded a plane for England. Our destination was Liverpool, my mother’s birthplace, rather than the city of London or a quaint village. It was her first time back to her native country since emigrating to the United States to marry my father. That summer holiday marked a first time for me as well: the first time I fell in love.Photos here were all taken in March 2011 on a walking tour of Oxford with Deborah:
Most people remember their first love in sharp detail, and I’m no different. Even now I can recall the bright colors of the Penguin biscuit wrappers, the dim smokiness of the pubs, the instant sense of being home when I saw the hills of Wales for the first time. There were approximately one thousand cousins to meet (or so it seemed) and centuries of history to learn. It was surely during visits to Speke Hall, the city of Chester, and Warwick Castle that I began the slow process of becoming a historian of sixteenth century England. When it was time to return to America, I was inconsolable. My temporary breakup with the UK was as wrenching as the ending of any love affair. It seemed like the end of the world, and I swore to myself I would get back as soon as I could.
For years, the only way I traveled to England was through the pages of books set there and the biographies of long dead kings and queens. When I finally returned to the UK as a young adult, part of me was afraid that all that reading and make-believe had distorted my recollections of the real place. What if I had fallen out of love with England after all this time?
My worries were unfounded. The UK exerted an even stronger pull on me. I am one of the fortunate few whose first love turned into their true love. From the moment I climb into a London cab, spot Oxford’s dreaming spires, or spy someone wearing Liverpool’s red-and-white colors I know I am back home where I belong.
A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Book 1 of the All Souls Trilogy
Genre: urban fantasy
About A Discovery Of Witches:
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.Source: Info in the About A Discovery Of Witches was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8667848-a-discovery-of-witches on 21/06/2012.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness
Book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy
Genre: urban fantasy
About Shadow Of Night:
"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of WitchesSource: Info in the About Shadow Of Night was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11559200-shadow-of-night on 29/06/2012.
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
About Deborah Harkness:
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have lived in western Massachusetts, the Chicago area, Northern California, upstate New York, and Southern California. In other words, I’ve lived in three out of five time zones in the US! I’ve also lived in the United Kingdom in the cities of Oxford and London.Deborah's Link(s):
For the past twenty-eight years I’ve been a student and scholar of history, and received degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. During that time I researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. The libraries I’ve worked in include Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, London’s Guildhall Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Library—proving that I know my way around a card catalogue or the computerized equivalent. These experiences have given me a deep and abiding love of libraries and a deep respect for librarians. Currently, I teach European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
My previous books include two works of non-fiction: John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007). It has been my privilege to receive fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. And I was honored to receive accolades for my historical work from the History of Science Society, the North American Conference on British Studies, and the Longman’s/History Today Prize Committee.
In 2006, I took up my keyboard and entered the world of blogging and Twitter. My wine blog, Good Wine Under $20, is an online record of my search for the best, most affordable wines. These efforts have been applauded by the American Wine Blog Awards, Saveur.com, Wine & Spirits magazine, and Food & Wine magazine. My wine writing has also appeared on the website Serious Eats and in Wine & Spirits magazine.
My career in fiction began in September 2008 when I began to wonder “if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?” A Discovery of Witches is the unexpected answer to that question. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a bestseller in the UK, France, and Germany. Thirty-eight foreign editions and translations will be published. The story of Diana and Matthew will continue in the second and third books of the All Souls Trilogy.