It begins with absence and desire…
Chatoiement. That’s how I would describe Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. I was enchanted, quickly leafing through it’s pages, captivated by every word. As the first in the All Souls trilogy, the story shimmers when a vampire meets a witch in the same way a boy meets a girl. But then, nothing in life is so simple.
Diana Bishop is an extraordinary witch, she just doesn’t know it. In the years following her parents’ mysterious death, she has chosen an average life untouched by the prowess of witches. But her life is about to change. As an alchemical historian doing research at Oxford University, Diana unknowingly recalls a grimoire from the Bodleian Library’s stacks. Ashmole 782 is an old book with ancient tales to tell. Or, does it? Inaccurate illustrations, debatable conclusions and uncommon hypotheses lead her to dig deeper, look further. As she turns the pages, she soon realizes she is holding a palimpsest betwitched to look like an ordinary treatise on alchemy. Consciously refusing to get involved in the Wiccan world of her blood, she resists the magic pulsing from through her fingers, choosing instead to return Ashmole 782 to the stacks. Having met the conditions of the spell, the die is recast, the spell reset and a chain reaction is unleashed in Oxford alerting non-humans that the once long lost book is now found.
Like all vampires, Matthew Clairmont is unable to resist a good game of chase. He has spent years searching for the answers that can only be found within Ashmole 782’s pages. Believed to hold the secrets on the origins of inhuman species (vampire, witch, and demon), this much coveted livre has long been considered the mythological stuff of dreams. No one has ever laid eyes on it much less fingers. And yet, Matthew Clairmont knows it exists. No one would work so hard to hide insignificant things. But Ashmole 782 is not the only thing being hunted. Soon, the need to find a long lost book is replaced by the need to safeguard Diana from the knowledge spellbound within her memories. Bring on the hunters…and the hunted.
As the words of this manuscript danced through my mind, I was lost to the story unfolding letter by letter before my eyes. Of all the memories in the book, Matthew and Diana’s first breakfast together stands out the most. At a quiet table in the back of a traditional Oxford pub, Diana orders a full English breakfast while Matthew sips on tea. Accented by the awkwardness that generally accompanies a first date, it’s a turning point in the plot. The first step towards witch and vampire aligning against the predators surrounding them.
So light a fire for ambiance, turn on some Brit music (like the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack) for mood and let the hunt begin!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serving Size: 1 Breakfast
Tea: Twinings English Breakfast or Earl Gray
1 serving of low and slow scrambled eggs, prepared per instructions
1 slice of bacon, pan fried, drained and halved
1 slice of bread toasted + butter and jam
1/2 cup of baked beans (I used Bush’s Baked Beans)
Veg, to taste (seasoned cold tomato/avocado or grilled tomatoes/mushrooms are classic combinations)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, prep the scrambled eggs per instruction. Next, in the same pan, fry the bacon to a medium golden brown color. Set aside on paper towels to cool and drain. Quickly remove any bacon grease from the pan and heat the baked beans. While the beans are warming, toast the bread and put the kettle on to boil. English breakfasts often feature a vegetable on the plate as well. If using, try either of the combinations listed above! All that remains is to begin assembling the troops including butter and jam for your toast; tea bags, sugar and cream for the cuppa and plates and silver ware for munching.