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BOOK REVIEW: The Book of Life (The All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness

"But you have become as vital to me as breath and blood. My heart no longer knows where I end and you begin. I knew that you were a powerful witch from the moment I saw you, but how could I have imagined that you would have so much power over me?" - Matthew de Clermont

I am so sad to see this series come to an end, from the very first pages, I was drawn in and hooked to the story! The Book of Life is the final installment in the All Souls Trilogy series, and it is such a page-turner! It is such a unique paranormal story that ties in little historical fun facts and has you on the edge of your seat wondering if Diana and Matthew will be able to find their happily ever after, will they put the Book of Life back together and repair it from the damage of pages being torn out; will Matthew's family accept Diana as a member of their family; will Diana harness her magic and protect those she loves?!

This final installment has all of the DeClermont family and Bishop family back together in the present time, each with secrets that could help or hinder the family. Now mated, and after travelling through time and the experiences that Matthew and Diana faced in the past, Matthew is most desperate to see his Diana safe, cared for, and happy. Now they will face new crises, as well as old enemies both from the present and the past. When the true threat to their future is revealed, it is more important and urgent (at least for Diana) to search and find the Ashmole manuscript and it's missing pages over everything else as it could be the key and answer to all of their questions.

I loved the romantic aspects of this story. I loved seeing Ysabel and Phillipe's love survive centuries and even death. I loved how they would leave little notes throughout their home for each other to find to share tidbits of their day/life. I thoroughly enjoyed Ysabel looking for those notes in the present time realizing Phillipe might share stories and information on meeting Diana and seeing Matthew in the past. Seeing Marcus find love with a human was sweet and unexpected. Seeing secondary characters and their loves both present and lost was heartwarming and bittersweet. But most of all, seeing Matthew and Diana's love blossom and strengthen was so beautiful. Matthew learned that even though he wants to protect and keep Diana safe above all else, he can trust her to also know what to do to protect herself as well. Seeing the fear and then absolute joy in Matthew and Diana when their twins are born was the sweetest. Something neither of them planned or thought would be a possibility in their life (and in Matthew's case again), is now the greatest joy and achievement for them both.

There were definitely a few moments in the story that just seemed slow and dragged on, but overall I feel that every experience and event led to the greater picture and truths that were revealed. The themes and symbols that were spread out throughout the story were enjoyable to find. And I just loved how the story ended - with a happily ever after for Matthew and Diana, as well as their loved ones.

I am left with a few questions that I wish would have been answered or addressed.

  1. Gallowglass -- oh my heart. After meeting Diana in Elizabethan London, once Diana was born, he watched over her through her entire life. He fell in love with her and after he admits his feelings to Diana, he leaves, knowing that there is only Matthew for her in her eyes. And even though he protected and cared for her both in the past and in present time after they returned from the past, he stays away. He doesn't even come back for the twins' baptism! Will he find love or will he be pining for Diana forever?! I loved his character way to much for him to spend the rest of his days pining for the one woman he can't have.

  2. Who actually made the Book of Life and why??

  3. What will happen to the Book of Life when Diana dies??

  4. Will they find a treatment for blood rage?

  5. If there were other witches like Diana, why was she so special and picked along with Matthew to search and find the Book of Life as well as have children who do survive?

I cannot end this review without sharing some of my favorite lines and quotes from this last book.

“With knot of one, the spell's begun.

With knot of two, the spell be true.

With knot of three, the spell is free.

With knot of four, the power is stored.

With knot of five, this spell will thrive.

With knot of six, this spell I fix.

With knot of seven, the spell will waken.

With knot of eight, the spell will wait.

With knot of nine, the spell is mine.

With knot of ten, it begins again.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Diana learning her magic and abilities and then in this book really believing in herself and knowing what she can do to protect those she loves.

“The secret is that I may be the head of the Bishop-Clairmont family, but you are its heart,” he whispered. “And the three of us are in perfect agreement: The heart is more important.”

Sigh. Need I say more? I need a Matthew in my life!

“As I am the end, so my lover is the beginning. I encompass the whole work of creation, and all knowledge is hidden in me.”

Overall, this was an absolutely amazing story from start to finish. It was such a unique and different take on a paranormal, time travelling, historical romance! I cannot wait to now check out the show that was created based off of these books. Seeing the pages come to life will be amazing and I hope it lives up to the books! Diana and Matthew's love story was beautiful, strong, and probably one of my favorites that I have read in a long time. Seeing the love, loyalty, and devotion in both Diana's family as well as Matthew's was wonderful and something I hope I replicate in my own life. Cannot recommend checking out this series enough!

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