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Lives of the Mayfair Witches #1
Goodreads⎮Reviewed Aug. 2017
Narrator: Kate Reading
Publisher: Random House Audio⎮2015
Synopsis: 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.
4.75★ Audiobook⎮Finishing The Witching Hour feels like emerging from a cocoon and not knowing where I am or what’s going on. For the past week, The Witching Hour has consumed nearly every waking second of my life. I mean, I was really into it. This was one of the most immersive audiobooks I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. It may wind up being my listening experience of the year.
I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to get into Anne Rice. The hype is real. She is a master. Rice had me in the palm of her hand in a way only Stephen King has been able to do before. Even in the middle of the story, I knew I was experiencing greatness. The Witching Hour was mind-blowingly intense. There were times when I had no idea what was going on and I know Rice designed it that way, like being in the middle of a hurricane or a fever dream.
The characters were beyond complex. These are some of the most well-developed characters I’ve ever experienced. The genealogical structure of the family was intricately detailed and it enthralled the amateur genealogist in me. The family storyline goes back 12 generations, which had me frantically pulling up fan-made family trees. The trees spoiled a little of the story for me, so be warned, if you plan to do the same.
Certain elements of the story reminded me of The Roanoke Girls and others of the Witching Savannah series, both of which I adored. Throw in a little Stephen King-esque horror and you’ve got yourself a winner. This 50-hour audiobook cost me quite a few spaces on my shelf for the month of July, but what good is it to be 12 books ahead of my listening schedule if I can’t indulge in a “whopper” now and then? I may have only completed five audiobooks in July, but The Witching Hour could count for five more on its own.
It felt nice to veer off course for a while and lose myself in this story. I’ve been searching for the perfect “witch” book for some time now and, although The Witching Hour wasn’t quite it, it was close enough. Perhaps the closest I’ve come in the search thus far. My only regret is that I didn’t hear it closer to Halloween. It’s just the type of spooky I prefer. My intention is to hold off on hearing the second and third installments until closer to October, but I make no guarantees. For now, I’m just grateful to have discovered the work of Anne Rice and to have been pulled back from the edge of another listening slump. Nothing revitalizes my passion for audiobooks like a good listen!
Narration review: Oh, Kate Reading! I accredit so much of this magical experience to you. Reading’s narration allowed me to forget that I was being read to or even that I was hearing a story at all. It all became so real. Kate’s performance was among the best I’ve heard. Ever. Her character distinction was par none. It went beyond being able to tell which character was speaking. Reading imbued each character’s voice with their own personality. The distinction was so incredible that I’m still having trouble believing that this was a one-person performance. C’mon Kate, who else was hiding in that booth? ♣︎