"Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness, Viking, 577 pages, $28.95.
I have been eagerly awaiting this book for months. It is the follow-up to "A Discovery of Witches," one of my favorite books of all time. You should read them in order to follow what is going on.
"Shadow of Night" starts with Diana Bishop, reluctant witch, and Matthew Clairmont, vampire geneticist, traveling back to 1590. She needs to find a witch who can teach her to use her powers. She is also looking for a magical book that she called up in a library, causing witches, vampires and daemons to show up.
Matthew is concerned because he realizes that his father was alive then. For him to travel back in time will bring up old memories. Of course, Matthew was friends with powerful people of that time. And witch hunts were ongoing.
These two books are a wonderful blend of romance, magic, fantasy and history. "Shadow of Night" is not as intense as "A Discovery of Witches," but it is still a wonderful book that I plan to read again. This is a must for fans of romance and fantasy novels. It is irresistible and will leave you longing for the final book coming in the "All Souls" trilogy.
"Gold" by Chris Cleave, Simon & Schuster, 320 pages, $27.
Zoe Castle, Kate Meadows and Jack Argall, all 19, meet at the tryouts for the British extreme cycling team. All three make the team. Then in August of 2004, Zoe and Jack are competing in the Olympics. Kate, now married to Jack, is home with baby Sophie.
Fast forward to 2012. Sophie, 8, has leukemia. She is fascinated by Star Wars. Sophie wants more than anything to be a Jedi knight. She is feeling very ill, but is trying to hide it from her parents.
Kate and Jack are consumed with taking proper care of her. By now Zoe has four Olympic gold medals. Kate has skipped two Olympics to take care of Sophie, but she is training hard for this one. Tom, their coach, has bad news. A rules change will allow only one of the women to compete.
This is a rewarding novel about families and friends and sacrifices made. The characters are wonderful. There are plot twists and interesting back stories. It is also a fascinating look at training of elite athletes and the care of a very ill child.
Chris Cleave is the author of the best-selling novel, "Little Bee," published in 2009.