- Series: Lives of Mayfair Witches (Book 1)
- Mass Market Paperback: 1056 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (March 22, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780345384461
- ISBN-13: 978-0345384461
- ASIN: 0345384466
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,057 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Witching Hour (Lives of Mayfair Witches) Mass Market Paperback – March 22, 1993
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In this engrossing and hypnotic tale of witchcraft and the occult spanning four centuries, we meet a great dynasty of witches--a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being.
From Publishers Weekly
"We watch and we are always here" is the motto of the Talamasca, a saintly group with extrasensory powers which has for centuries chronicled the lives of the Mayfairs--a dynasty of witches that brought down a shower of flames in 17th-century Scotland, fled to the plantations of Haiti and on to the New World, where they settled in the haunted city of New Orleans. Rice ( The Queen of the Damned ) plumbs a rich vein of witchcraft lore, conjuring in her overheated, florid prose the decayed antebellum mansion where incest rules, dolls are made of human bone and hair, and violent storms sweep the skies each time a witch dies and the power passes on. Newly annointed is Rowan Mayfair, a brilliant California neurosurgeon kept in ignorance of her heritage by her adoptive parents. She returns to the fold after bringing back Michael Curry from the dead; he, too, has unwanted extrasensory gifts and, like Rowan and the 12 Mayfairs before her, has beheld Lasher: devil, seducer, spirit. Now Lasher wants to come through to this world forever and Rowan is the Mayfair who can open the door. This massive tome repeatedly slows, then speeds when Rice casts off the Talamasca's pretentious, scholarly tones and goes for the jugular with morbid delights, sexually charged passages and wicked, wild tragedy. 300,000 first printing; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
As blasphemous as this may sound, this is probably my favorite book by Anne Rice. Maybe it was the age I was at when it was released. I don't know. I can honestly say that I have read, and pretty much loved every book she's written, but this one put so many hooks in me that I guess I never got away.
There are so many stories going on. There is the child, practically stolen at birth. The ghost that gives wealth and power while it plots it's future. The lost women, used and discarded. An evil woman so cloaked in self righteousness that she believes her behavior is not only acceptable, but necessary. And the witch determined to free the family from it's curse.
Witch burnings, the Renaissance, moving to the New World, the Jazz Age. After all, this story covers some 300 plus years. And then there is New Orleans and the House. There is simply no other place like New Orleans. Even today the streets, houses, cemeteries, people, churches and sometimes, it seems, the very air are different. A very Old World place plopped down in the New.
I truly believe that in just about anyone else's hands all of the threads of this story would be a knot so tangled it would require a knife to undo. A really big knife. How she manages it is beyond me- but she does. Beautifully.
So, if you like history, romance, mystery, suspense, and some seriously spooky goings on, you might love this book as much as I do. Well, almost as much.
The big problem I have now with the story is that I find Rowan not very likable and an unbelievable character. Ridiculously beautiful, confident, inscrutable and perfect, she's practically an immortal creature even without her witchy powers. She'd have fit in more as a character in Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Unapproachable for the other characters in the story (even Michael ultimately) and for the reader. Another problem is what others have complained about, the length of the second half. It just goes on far too long once they move to New Orleans and start talking interminably about their relationship, etc. I understand why the book ended as it did, and Rowan's surprising actions, but at least the last twenty pages sparked some life into the book that was becoming a chore to get through.
All in all, worth it for the family history, both the Mayfairs and Michael's. But don't feel guilty for speed-reading through the rest until near the end.
EDIT: I completely forgot to mention that I ordered this book used and it came to be practically like new.