The Witch Of Portobello Novel By Paulo Coelho. The Witch of Portobello is a fiction work by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho published in 2006, about a woman born in Transylvania to a Romani mother in a gypsy tribe without wedlock. The central character is abandoned by her birth mother because the father was a foreigner and later adopted by a wealthy Lebanese couple. Paulo Coelho, one of the worlds best loved storytellers, is back with a riveting new novel set in London. This is the story of Athena, or Shrine, to give her the name she was baptized with. Her life is pieced together through a series of recorded interviews with those people who knew her well or hardly at all, parents, colleagues, teachers, friends, acquaintances, her ex-husband. The novel unravels Athenas mysterious beginnings, via an orphanage in Romania, to a childhood in Beirut. When war breaks out, her adoptive family move with her to London, where a dramatic turn of events occurs… Athena, who has been dubbed the Witch of Portobello for her seeming powers of prophecy, disappears dramatically, leaving those who knew her to solve the mystery of her life and abrupt departure. Like The Alchemist, The Witch of Portobello is the kind of story that will transform the way readers think about love, passion, joy and sacrifice.