Book Review – The Witching Hour: A Novel by Anne Rice
At first glance, fiction and travel guides don’t have much in common, however fiction can set a mood where travel guides primarily address logistics. When I travel I always read fiction set in the region I am visiting. When I first read The Witching Hour in 1995 in preparation for a trip to New Orleans. Anne Rice’s descriptions of The Big Easy were so spot-on that I knew the city before I even stepped off the plane.
Reading this expansive tome of over 1,000 pages seemed a daunting task, but once I began this story I found myself waking up an hour early each day to have some reading time before going into work. Sounds crazy, but I gladly sacrificed sleep to become lost in the gothic world of Rice’s native New Orleans.
The novel spans 500 years and 13 generations in the lives of the Mayfair Family, a family blessed with riches yet cursed by a disembodied spirit who becomes the familiar of a chosen female in each generation. The novel begins in 1980’s New Orleans but swiftly whisks the readers back in time to the 16th century in the Scottish Highlands during the height of the European witch hunts. The narrative moves through time and space from Amsterdam to Saint-Domingue just prior to the slave revolts into Antebellum New Orleans, thru the Civil War to present day. One reviewer characterizes the rich and descriptive writing as “dripping off the page”. I couldn’t have described it better.
I recommend this book (the first in a series of three) to fans of history, horror, romance and mystery genres. Many people over the years have purchased this novel at my suggestion and each one returned to tell me how The Witching Hour has become one of their favorite books. The Witching Hour is my absolute favorite novel and I have reread it several times over the years.
Readers of The Witching Hour will find themselves lost in a supernatural world that isn’t so different from our own. Don’t be surprised if after reading this novel, you find yourself planning a trip to Louisiana. I did and stayed for 11 years.
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