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Published by Random House Audio on October 13th 2015
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Witches
Purchase links: Amazon, iTunes
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Source: Penguin Random House Audio
Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of four centuries of witches - a family given to poetry and incest, murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being called Lasher who haunts the Mayfair women....
Moving in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and the France of Louis XIV, from the coffee plantations of Port-au-Prince to Civil War New Orleans and back to today, Anne Rice has spun a mesmerizing tale that challenges everything we believe in.
©2010 Anne Rice (P)2015 Random House Audio
We received this book/audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Guest Review by Lisa, creator and blogger of The Mommy Porn Periodicals
Penguin Random House Audio Presents…
The Witching Hour (Book 1 in the Mayfair Chronicles) by: Anne Rice
Read by: Kate Reading
Nobody’s family’s perfect. No matter how hard we try to deny—better yet ignore—it, we all have or have had a few monsters in our genealogical closets! Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. But let me tell you, no family, and I mean NO family, has the kind of monsters, or skeletons, in their crazy-ass closets like the Mayfairs do in Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour! HOLY SHIT!
When it comes to Anne Rice, I’m a huge fan. HUGE. I’ve read and loved her writing since the age of 13 (I’m 36 now). Our romance has been long and strong…in my head. And even though Mrs. Rice was deemed the literary Vampire Queen over 38 years ago (You damn right it’s been that long. Interview With a vampire was originally published back in 1976.) her stories and characters still reign supernaturally supreme today!
Rice wrote The Witching Hour in 1990. And because it’s a tome large enough to bludgeon someone to death, many have classified it as daunting to read. Well, me being the self-professed Anne Rice lover that I am read it without hesitation—like immediately. Let me just say, IT. BLEW. MY. MIND. I loved the story, the characters, EVERYTHING. And because I loved the Mayfair Witches’ story so much, I bought the audiobook to listen to ASAP. Unfortunately the only version available was and has been the abridged version. It’s long enough to get the gist of the story but I’ve always hated how much of the amazing plot’s details are lacking.
So what does all of this have to do with an audiobook review you ask? Well, about three weeks ago, when my amazing friend Angelica, of Collector of Book Boyfriends & Girlfriends, asked me to do a guest review of a new release of The Witching Hour audiobook ***unabridged*** I was thrilled!
Fast-forward through a day and a half of downloading files—my new uncut audiobook was ready for listening. All right—I hear you saying—Get on with it!! OK! I’m ready to get on…this review!
So, before I can get to the nitty gritty , there are some characters that require introduction.
First, I should introduce the Mayfairs. They’re an old southern family, full of witches, with a taste for the finer things in life…and incest. (Yep! You read that right!) Most of them are disgustingly wealthy, have a talent for business and know how to keep secrets. The witching abilities mostly pass to the females in the family (with the exception of Uncle Julien, a badass male witch that liked to seduce female family members…eek!) and they all live in the Garden District of New Orleans, LA. The most important witches to name are: Deirdre, Aunt Carl, Mona, and Uncle Julien.
Next to mention is Dr. Rowan Mayfair. Rowan’s a brilliant young neurosurgeon who is ignorant of her biological family’s history (because she was adopted and then relocated to California during her infancy). She’s one crazy talented surgeon who can perform neurological miracles—it would seem—for her patients. She soon comes to realize that she can either save or kill whomever she wishes. Witchy powers at work you ask? Hellz yeah they are!
“’Poor Rowan,’ said the teacher, later. ‘Darling, I want you to understand it was something in her head that killed her. It was medical. It had nothing to do with the fight.’ And that’s when Rowan had known, absolutely, what the teacher would never know. She did it. She caused that kid to die.”
Michael Curry, another important character in the story, is a wealthy general contractor, by trade, who specializes in the restoration of old Victorian homes in San Francisco. While near the bay, Michael experiences a near drowning –before being pulled out of the water by none other than Rowan Mayfair. (By chance? I think not!) After the incident, Michael starts to experience psychic abilities through his hands and soon depends on antipsychotic drugs and alcohol to numb his new obtrusive gift. In his drug induced state, Michael’s constantly dreaming of his childhood in New Orleans—as if something is calling to him—and yearns to go back.
Aaron Lightner, a psychic-scholar (Yes! That’s a thing.) and member of the Talamasca also warrants introduction. WTF is the Talamasca, you ask? Well, the Talamasca is an extremely old and very secret society that tracks and records supernatural occurrences that are in most instances “unexplainable.” All members of the Talamasca are strictly prohibited to interfere with whatever they observe and Aaron dutifully complies—mostly.
Last but not least is Lasher. Lasher is a spirit with wicked motives with a kick-ass name. He is “the man” that everyone describes creeping outside and around the Mayfair house in the Garden District. And unbeknownst to the Mayfair women, Lasher has been seducing the family’s children into doing his bidding for generations. Ultimately he’s been plotting and waiting for a child strong enough to possess so that he is made flesh again.
Also, Michael saw Lasher frequently during his childhood in New Orleans.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was weeks and weeks ago. Father, help me please. I cannot fight the devil. I try and I always fail. And I’m going to go to hell for it.”
Because Collector of Book Boyfriends and Girlfriends has a strict NO SPOILERS policy, I can’t give you much detail about the plot. What I can tell you is that Rice’s spellbinding gothic horror is a story expertly laced with rich descriptions of love, deceit, lust, pain, and terrible monstrosities that even decades of the best family lies and secrets can’t hide. (Also, Michael and Rowan are an amazing couple!) Rice’s characters are so robustly formed that you can’t help but carry them with you—weeks after listening to this master of an audiobook. Kate Reading’s narration is so sublime that you lose her entirely to the story. (In my opinion, that is the greatest compliment that the narrator of an audiobook can receive.)
All in all, I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend listening to this version of The Witching Hour, whether you’re a fan of Anne Rice’s writing or not. If you are, you’ll freaking love it. If you aren’t already a fan of Rice you damn well will be afterwards.
By: Lisa, creator and blogger of The Mommy Porn Periodicals