In Paperback: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessPenguin Books, May 28, 2013

Originally Read: I read this when it came out last summer. Basically the minute it came out!

New Cover or Old? To my eye the cover didn’t change, but I can’t be sure. Sometimes little things are changed that you don’t see right off the bat. I like that the cover plays on the mysticism of the book and has a city view on the cover.

What I Thought Then: Shadow of Night had really big shoes to fill because I loved A Discovery of Witches so much, but I did enjoy going back in time and getting to meet Matthew’s family and friends, seeing  him in a world that was his own, and experiencing how he and Diana fared as a couple around his family. There were also surprises for them in the relationship, and readers get to see how differently Diana and Matthew view commitment. History buffs have the opportunity to see Kit Marlowe at work- he’s one of Matthew’s devoted admirers, and Diana and Matthew’s search for a witch who can help them understand their powers put them in some tight spots and up against seedy characters. There was a bit of meandering off the path in this one, some parts that felt slow, and some story lines that felt extraneous but Harkness’s rich detail and historical grounding preserved enough of the original elements that made this such a worthy mystery and romance.

Now, On Further Reflection: Though I didn’t love the sequel as much as the second book, it’s still quite good. It’s one that I would like to reread now that I have settled into the stories and characters more. My appetite for the third book is still strong.

Book Club Pick? It depends on whether your club has read the first book in the series. This is not one where I would recommend reading as a stand alone, but if you have, then go for it. Matthew and Diana are in a different time period and it would be an interesting discussion to delve into how he is different in Tudor England than he is in the present. That time difference can play with a relationship quite a bit.

Giveaway: I have one finished copy to giveaway to a reader with a US address. If you’re interested in receiving the book and six specially designed series buttons, please fill out this brief form. I will pick a winner at random on Tuesday, June 18. Your email address will be discarded if you do not win. I do not share or retain any personal information. No purchase necessary and void where prohibited. Only selected winner(s) will be contacted by email. Thanks and good luck!

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    1. Generally in a trilogy, Book 2, is my least favorite. They do tend to go off onto the bushes. The only exception I can think of is Siege and Storm. I did love the family interaction and of course as you said, I just have to know what happens.

  1. I love that as these books come out in paperback, there are new opportunities to see them reviewed! I simply adore this series. I have a preference for the first book too and generally agree that the 2nd in a series is a bridge to the next part…so much time is spent on”set-up”. The thing I emphasize to people about this series is that even though the main characters are supernatural, it is a book that can appeal to anyone – those who enjoy historical fiction, romance, etc. This is a smart series and those interested in exploring history, mythology, geography will have a lot to consider! I’m thrilled that this has been optioned by Warner Brothers and eagerly await news that e project is moving forward. There is quite a campaign going on to have Richard Armitage cast as Matthew Clairmont. You should check out the website at or Facebook at