From Publishers Weekly
When Anne Rice stopped crafting stories about vampires and began writing about Jesus, many of her fans were shocked. This autobiographical spiritual memoir provides an account of how the author rediscovered and fully embraced her Catholic faith after decades as a self-proclaimed atheist. Rice begins with her childhood in New Orleans, when she seriously considered entering a convent. As she grows into a young adult she delves into concerns about faith, God and the Catholic Church that lead her away from religion. The author finally reclaims her Catholic faith in the late 1990s, describing it as a movement toward total surrender to God. She writes beautifully about how through clouds of doubt and pain she finds clarity, realizing how much she loved God and desired to surrender her being, including her writing talent, to God. Covering such a large sequence of time and life events is not easy, and some of the author's transitions are a bit jarring. Fans of Rice's earlier works will enjoy discovering more about her life and fascinating journey of faith. (Oct. 7)
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Rice gave faithful fans fits when she concluded her lengthy vampire saga with series hero Lestat searching for sainthood and followed up with carefully orthodox biographical novels about Jesus. Now she eloquently explains the life change that shaped those books: her return to Catholicism. First, however, she limns the early-life faith she hoped to resume and the long exile from it that began, so typically, in college and continued until late middle age. She expansively recalls the cohesion and beauty that regular mass attendance, Catholic schooling, and community observance of the panoply of Christian festivals bestowed on her New Orleans childhood and adolescence. Much more tersely but no less consequentially, she asserts the satisfaction of her thoroughly faithful 41-year marriage to the poet Stan Rice (1942–2002). About her long period of unbelief, she is even briefer, though she retrospectively interprets her vampires and witches as sad unbelievers still desperately striving for transcendence and grace, as she was. Coming home to New Orleans in 1989 preceded coming home to the church in 1996, and full realization of revived faith came with the decision to write for God. As plainly written as a Quaker spiritual journal, Rice’s confession of faith will impress many who wouldn’t think of reading vampire romances—and possibly many who read little else. --Ray Olson