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The Witching Hour

by Anne Rice

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,783104771 (3.96)133
From the author of the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles comes a huge, hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult through four centuries. Demonstrating, once again, her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches--a family given to poetry and to incest, to murder and to philosophy; a family that, over the ages, is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being. On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking . . . and The Witching Hour begins. It begins in our time with a rescue at sea.  Rowan Mayfair, a beautiful woman, a brilliant practitioner of neurosurgery--aware that she has special powers but unaware that she comes from an ancient line of witches--finds the drowned body of a man off the coast of California and brings him to life.  He is Michael Curry, who was born in New Orleans and orphaned in childhood by fire on Christmas Eve, who pulled himself up from poverty, and who now, in his brief interval of death, has acquired a sensory power that mystifies and frightens him. As these two, fiercely drawn to each other, fall in love and--in passionate alliance--set out to solve the mystery of her past and his unwelcome gift, the novel moves backward and forward in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and a château in the France of Louis XIV.  An intricate tale of evil unfolds--an evil unleashed in seventeenth-century Scotland, where the first "witch," Suzanne of the Mayfair, conjures up the spirit she names Lasher . . . a creation that spells her own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn. From the coffee plantations of Port au Prince, where the great Mayfair fortune is made and the legacy of their dark power is almost destroyed, to Civil War New Orleans, as Julien--the clan's only male to be endowed with occult powers--provides for the dynasty its foothold in America, the dark, luminous story encompasses dramas of seduction and death, episodes of tenderness and healing.  And always--through peril and escape, tension and release--there swirl around us the echoes of eternal war: innocence versus the corruption of the spirit, sanity against madness, life against death.  With a dreamlike power, the novel draws us, through circuitous, twilight paths, to the present and Rowan's increasingly inspired and risky moves in the merciless game that binds her to her heritage. And in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve, this strangest of family sagas is brought to its startling climax.… (more)
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» See also 133 mentions

English (104)  Italian (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
It's been ages, and I read a lot of Anne Rice, but in the beginning, there's a scene with a person in a wheelchair who looks to be barely alive...then we get into the invalid's mind and find that, oh my! Things are not at all as they seem. Brilliant. Memorable. Sucks you in and makes you squirm wondering what will happen next. ( )
  JEatHHP | Aug 23, 2022 |
This will be one of those reviews where my opinion differs from many of my fellow GR reviewers. Oh well, at least one of my buddy-readers agrees with me, so that's something.

Let me say that I did enjoy the opening section, where Rice approaches her main story indirectly, from a number of points of view, some peripheral and two from the main characters. IMO she did a super job with this, pulling the reader in with an incomplete sense of where the story was headed. A definite A for this part.

From there it's all downhill. The next section recounts hundreds of years of the Mayfair witches' genealogy. It read kind of like a macabre version of Genesis - more detail, but not much more interesting unless you go in for inappropriate sexual relationships. And non-mortal beings.

In that section the story begins its relocation to New Orleans, and the rest of the story is located there. There is no question that Ms. Rice has world class descriptive powers, but what she really needs is an editor with a very sharp blue pencil. (If you've read any of my previous reviews, you know that bloated writing is a huge problem for me.) An antebellum New Orleans mansion is, essentially, a character in the book. And before long we know every inch of that house. And its grounds. And then we go over it all again from another character's perspective. And then another time, when they go through it together. Then it is refurbished, and we are treated to a description of the renovations of each room as they happen. And then when it's complete. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

I wasn't a big fan of the resolution of the book either. I hadn't felt much connection to the main character in the first section of the book, and by the end I couldn't have been less interested in her outcome. It was a real slog getting to the end. There's no question that the last third of the book was an elaborate set-up for (drumroll, please) THE SEQUEL. No thanks.

You know, I was a big fan of [b:Interview with the Vampire|43763|Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)|Anne Rice|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1380631642l/43763._SY75_.jpg|873132] back in the mid-1970's, but two books later into that series I had had enough. Didn't take that even long with his series.

I'd give it a 4.5 based on the first section, but only a 2 for the rest of the book. That would probably equate to a 2.5. Am I feeling generous? Should I round up to a 3? Nope. Not when I realize I could have read 4 or 5 other books in the time it took me to plow through this. (50 hours of listening!)

2 stars only. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
8466300279
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
You won't like this book if you want a fast read with lots of dialog. The descriptions a lush, some might even say florid. And yet, the vivid descriptions set the mood. It reminds me of Madame Bovary with the descriptions of the streets of the town so clear that you could use it as a walking tour.

It is dense. I thought a few times of just giving up while in the first section that went back and forth between current times in San Francisco and telling the older family history in New Orleans. But I forced myself to read faster.

Then I got to the part set in 17th-century France and a witch-burning. I actually took a history of witchcraft class in college and I can tell that Rice did her research. This part is told in an epistle style, so again the writing is very dense. But I am enjoying the richness of her storytelling. I wish I was on a beach somewhere with nothing to do all day but lounge around and read this book.

I did like the book and if I had read this when I was much younger I probably would have given it a higher rating. I don't plan on reading any more in the series. I just don't have the time to read such a thick book that has so much information that really isn't necessary to move the plot along.

Reading this might be useful for anyone who is writing their own family history because it shows you how you could link family anecdotes together to make a narrative history.

If you are an Anne Rice fan or enjoy a very dense describe read with not lot of dialog then you will enjoy this. If you want a quick read, this isn't for you.

I was disappointed that Rice kept telling how ominous the "ghost" is and it did seem to orchestrate some horrible things, However, for the most part, I just didn't feel a constant foreboding that would have made this much more enjoyable.

I don't think that younger readers would really enjoy this one. ( )
  jezebellydancer | Jun 20, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this book though it was super long. Just reading at night before bed made it take a long time but it was definitely worth the read. I imagine that I will read the rest as I am curious as to what happens to the characters. I have read some of her other books and was not caught as quickly as I was with this one. It didn't take long for me to be interested and connected to continue reading. There are some dry spells but they do contribute to the story. At 1000 pages, you have to be dedicated to read this but I am glad that I did. ( )
  KyleneJones | Apr 25, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Novela escrita por Anne Rice, y primer libro de la trilogía de "Las Brujas de Mayfair", en el que se explica el origen, tanto de la familia de brujas más antigua, (sobre la que se tenga conocimiento en el universo creado por Anne Rice), como el de las criaturas llamadas Taltos, las cuales son tratadas con mayor profundidad en el tercer libro de la saga.
 

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Epigraph
And the rain is brain-colored.
And the thunder sounds like something remembering something.

STAN RICE
Dedication
With Love:

For Stan Rice and Christopher Rice

For John Preston

For O'Brien Borchardt, Tamara O'Brien Tinker, Karen O'Brien,
and Micki O'Brien Collins

And for
Dorothy Van Bever O'Brien, who bought me my first typewriter in 1959, taking the time and trouble to see that it was a good one.
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The doctor woke up afraid.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

From the author of the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles comes a huge, hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult through four centuries. Demonstrating, once again, her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches--a family given to poetry and to incest, to murder and to philosophy; a family that, over the ages, is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being. On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking . . . and The Witching Hour begins. It begins in our time with a rescue at sea.  Rowan Mayfair, a beautiful woman, a brilliant practitioner of neurosurgery--aware that she has special powers but unaware that she comes from an ancient line of witches--finds the drowned body of a man off the coast of California and brings him to life.  He is Michael Curry, who was born in New Orleans and orphaned in childhood by fire on Christmas Eve, who pulled himself up from poverty, and who now, in his brief interval of death, has acquired a sensory power that mystifies and frightens him. As these two, fiercely drawn to each other, fall in love and--in passionate alliance--set out to solve the mystery of her past and his unwelcome gift, the novel moves backward and forward in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and a château in the France of Louis XIV.  An intricate tale of evil unfolds--an evil unleashed in seventeenth-century Scotland, where the first "witch," Suzanne of the Mayfair, conjures up the spirit she names Lasher . . . a creation that spells her own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn. From the coffee plantations of Port au Prince, where the great Mayfair fortune is made and the legacy of their dark power is almost destroyed, to Civil War New Orleans, as Julien--the clan's only male to be endowed with occult powers--provides for the dynasty its foothold in America, the dark, luminous story encompasses dramas of seduction and death, episodes of tenderness and healing.  And always--through peril and escape, tension and release--there swirl around us the echoes of eternal war: innocence versus the corruption of the spirit, sanity against madness, life against death.  With a dreamlike power, the novel draws us, through circuitous, twilight paths, to the present and Rowan's increasingly inspired and risky moves in the merciless game that binds her to her heritage. And in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve, this strangest of family sagas is brought to its startling climax.

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Rowan Mayfair, a neurosurgeon with special powers and the descendant of a dynasty of witches, is drawn to Michael Curry, gifted with strange powers after a near-fatal accident, as they seek to unlock the secret of their talents.
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