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The Witching Hour

(Lives of the Mayfair Witches #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  95,987 ratings  ·  3,376 reviews
From the author of the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles comes a huge, hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult through four centuries.

Demonstrating, once again, her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches—a family given to poetry and to incest, to murder and to philosophy; a family that, over
Paperback, 1207 pages
Published November 4th 2004 by Arrow (first published October 1st 1990)
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Brittany Your local library! Most libraries offer free downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, etc. The system I work for also has digital magazines and music all…moreYour local library! Most libraries offer free downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, etc. The system I work for also has digital magazines and music all available for free download. :)(less)

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4.11  · 
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 ·  95,987 ratings  ·  3,376 reviews

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Elise Jensen
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I actually quite enjoyed this book up until the very end, when I felt like the main female character just had some sort of weird personality seizure and did something that the character as you've come to know her just wouldn't have done. It just made it seem poorly written to me, like Ms. Rice decided in the last 10 pages or so that it was going to have a sequel after all when she had been intending from the beginning for it to be a one-book story.
Joe Valdez
My witchathon concludes with The Witching Hour, the eleventh novel by Anne Rice. Published in 1990, I was hoping it might be the author's thirteenth book, but this goth epic of blood, sugar, sex and black magic is a monster as is. The word count is 327,360 words, 10,000 shy of Stephen King's baby high chair Under the Dome. Rice is a gifted scenarist who sets the table for adult horror dripping with sensuality and dread, the type moviegoers had to imagine in the 1940s with thrillers like Cat Peop ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got this book for Christmas that year. This was my first ever Anne Rice book, and it was about a year after Interview With A Vampire came out as a movie with Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and Tom Cruise. I was blown away people. If you like a story, like Gone With the Wind on crack, no seriously, epic like that, except VERY ADULT (don't let your tweens get their hands on this one Mom's and Dad's!), but such an addicting read that you may just get fired for calling in sick over it.

This was far an
Sarah Mac
Warning: SPOILERS. And gifs. Lots of both, actually.

I don't even know how to summarize what I've just finished. It's like trying to tell someone what happens in a George RR Martin novel. You might try to list item by item, but everything is woven with everything else & there's no way to distinguish in the grand scheme. "Oh, y'know. Stuff happens. People threaten each other. People fight. People die. People have sex. More stuff happens. More people fight. More people die. The end."

(Sorry, Rob
Derek Oberg
Aug 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most
One of my top 3 favorite novels of all time. Anne Rice gets a bad rap for being pure shlock, but what most people who haven't read her don't realize is that she is obsessed with history. She studies a particular time period, learns everything she can about it, and then creates characters and sticks them in it. She rarely disappoints me. And her prose is beautiful. You can sit down to read and realize that 2 hours have passed having not even noticed.

This book is about a woman named Rowan Mayfair,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh what a wonderful time I had revisiting my first Anne Rice book! I love Southern Gothic and for me there is only one book that beats this one in the genre. Rice's epic tale has it all; mystery, rapture, romance, destiny, history measured in dynastic generations, omens, and decaying mansions teeming with secrets. When you add in Rice's lush prose and fascinating characters all the variables are present for an atmospheric and engrossing read.

There are too many fascinating characters to talk ab
Meredith Watson
Aug 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
I FINALLY finished this. Good Lord, what a long winded mess this was. All the wordy history was boring but I stuck it out then ended up hating the ending! Why in the world to I keep reading Anne Rice?
mark monday
I imagine this as a fabulous mini-series featuring Kathy Bates and Sharon Stone in key roles. why can't this happen? someone make this happen!
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Mayfair's are an extremely powerful and wealthy family, in each generation there is a chosen one, a witch, who inherits not only the family home and money, but supernatural powers and an evil entity, named Lasher, who only has one aim – to become human again.

The Witching Hour is an extremely long novel, 1207 pages, but don't let that put you off reading as once you open the first page you soon find yourself completely absorbed in the chilling tale of the Mayfair Witches. This novel has a sp
Rebecca McNutt
Sort of a supernatural drama with all the family dysfunction and corruption of Flowers in the Attic and all the witchy magic of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Witching Hour is as dark as they come, and Anne Rice's real talent is in how well her writing depicts the scenery and the characters. While the novel was sometimes a bit too overdramatic for me and the little issues started coming across as more and more petty as it went on, I loved how well Rice's writing brings something new and daring t ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review is tainted by romance.

When my man and I first moved into the Garden District last summer (while I was still a bartender) we moved into a pristine apartment with a gallery balcony which overlooked Chestnut street. Left in our room in an otherwise pristine apartment was a box of clutter left by the previous tenant. She left spoons, a rubber ducky, a hideous vase and five Anne Rice novels.

I spent most of the summer mornings on the balcony reading the Mayfair witches series, starting with Th
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anybody that has no fear of page numbers.
This is one of the best books that I have read. With her Dickensian writing, Anne Rice weaves a wonderfully dark and historically fascinating tale about a spirit attached to a family of witches. Although this book is almost 1000 pages, it goes by so quickly! The historical description of the family's travels from places such as Scotland and Port-au-Prince, Haiti is detailed in a way that made me swoon! (Yes, swoon.)
J.K. Grice
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
In THE WITCHING HOUR, Anne Rice creates an incredible novel which is epic in scope. Much like she did in THE VAMPIRE LESTAT, Rice paints a colorful and rich history of her characters, and the story is wonderfully compelling and captivating. At 965 pages, this book takes some time to read carefully and to fully digest all of the events and interactions taking place over the centuries. I found it to be well worth the effort and definitely think that THE WITCHING HOUR is one of Rice's finest works. ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite summer trash reads. It's like a soap opera with witches and sex. Good fun.
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Anne Rice book of all time, anyone who reads this book will fall in love with New Orleans and Anne's writing. Not a vampire book, and I do love her vampires, but this is the best.
Olivier Delaye
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
26 years ago Anne Rice decided to move away from her vampire chronicles for a little while and tackle another supernatural theme which until then hadn’t showed up in her fiction––witchcraft. With this first installment in the Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy, she wrote the perfect family saga full of history, intrigues, description (and boy is there a lot of it!), fully-crafted (pun intended) characters (a plethora of them, actually!), dark magic, creepy scenes and details (boy, that scene i ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This is a long book. The story is in no hurry to tell itself and meanders along like a slow running river....and that was ok. It suited the detailed history of the Mayfair family from its earliest origins through to modern times.
I would never have made it without doing it through audio. The actual book has tiny print and close together lines and I only 'read' it when I wanted to finish a chapter that I'd started while driving. The narrator did a fantastic job and her languid voice for
Here goes another teenage favorite that I just had to revisit, just to see how my tastes have evolved over time… Why do I do this to myself?!

This book is a hot mess. Perhaps that’s why I loved it so much when I was sixteen. Now, I really see it as a multi-generational, historical soap opera, with weird (not always coherent) occult elements, and lots of (often weird) sex. That is not a bad thing: a good, juicy, trashy read is fun every once in a while.

This complicated, massive novel is the story
Jun 21, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to read "to be continued" at the end of a long book
Shelves: louisiana, fantasy
When I got to the end of this thick book, after having read hundreds of lukewarm pages, and found that it basically said "to be continued," I was pretty pissed off. If the book had been mine and not one I had borrowed from a friend, I would have tossed it across the room. That was when I decided that I would never again buy an Anne Rice book. I haven't.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Engrossing from the first paragraph. Anne Rice is best known for her book, "Interview With the Vampire," but she SHOULD be best known for this.
This is an epic novel that follows the lives of the Mayfair witches through generations, time and place. Eerie, magical, and mysterious. Characters are woven into an intricate and mesmerizing plot. Beautiful descriptive writing.
I was chilled to the bone and genuinely scared during nearly every chapter, but addicted like nothing else. Stayed up way pa
Deborah Obida
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paranormal,witches,horror fans.
I read this book back in 2011 immediately after I finished secondary school. It took me forever to read it then but I loved the story even till today, I've still not read anything quite like it.

A generation of witches traced back to the 1800 now reside in new Orleans, the book is written in an amazing way, It's super crazy how Lasher (the spirit they get their power from) drive them to insanity and all.

I'm definitely going to reread it and finish the series because even after 6 years I've still
Jul 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book disturbed me with her descriptions of incest and child sexual abuse activities. It's not that I'm a prude. I understand these things happen in real life and many fine stories have tackled material like this successfully-Flowers in the Attic, Oedipus Rex, even Tolkien. It's that she writes these as steamy harlequin romance moments; as great sexual, erotic experiences that are to be championed. It's inappropriate and disturbing. Makes me wonder about her as a person. That being said, and ...more
Penelope Douglas
Probably my favorite novel of hers. As is the case with most AR books, I don't particularly connect with the characters as much as I do with the world she creates. Love the web of history and how everything weaves together.
David Brasher
Dec 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book stinks. Anne Rice wrote really good vampire books, but the Feast of All Saints was dreadful and I couldn't finish. Her book about the childhood of Christ was horribly slow and boring. The Witching Hour goes on and on and on. It is as boring as real life. You just wait for something to happen. Every few pages she gets around to saying something about someone who may or may not be a witch.

The narrative runs sort of like, "In 1954 one of our investigators talked to a maid who lived down
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys history, family trees and witchcraft
Shelves: recently-read
I always hated vampire/witch stories but my honors English teacher in high school recommended this book to me for our final paper. Its about 1000 pages long so I used the first 500 hundred and literally fell in love. Since then I have read the book about five times. I LOVE IT. It centers around a wealthy family living in New Orleans, there is a spirit that follows one woman in every generation and the story follows the spirit from its conception. It is a really interesting, complex novel with ma ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Knowing my love of vampires and witches, my sister, upon hearing a review of this book sent it to me for my Birthday and I cold not put it down. This book connects the spirit world, with old world interest, new world love for anything gothic and just plain good writing. I followed the witches, spirits and vampires in every book by Anne Rice. This by far was the best!
Geek Lee
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cody | codysbookshelf
The whole time I was reading this 1,000+ page epic, a thought continuously ran through my head: “This is Anne Rice’s IT.” The subjects of The Witching Hour and Stephen King’s horror novel couldn’t be more different, but the writing style — its grandiosity — is quite similar. In this, surely the New Orleans author’s magnum opus, a time span of three centuries is covered; this is the quintessential generational saga.

The Mayfair family has a sordid, macabre past, and the center of it all is the la
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Anne Rice (born Howard Allen Frances O'Brien) is a best-selling American author of gothic, supernatural, historical, erotica, and later religious themed books. Best known for The Vampire Chronicles, her prevailing thematical focus is on love, death, immortality, existentialism, and the human condition. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold near ...more

Other books in the series

Lives of the Mayfair Witches (3 books)
  • Lasher (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #2)
  • Taltos (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #3)
“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.” 744 likes
“I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us.
I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it.
I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us.
I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it.
And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity.
For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are.
That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us.
If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness.
If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything.
But the world is simply to beautiful for that.
At least it seems that way to me.”
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