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The Feast of All Saints

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  17,024 ratings  ·  401 reviews
In the days before the Civil War, there lived in New Orleans the gens de couleur libre - copper-skinned half-castes, liberated by their owners, but confined by their color to a life of political nonexistence and social subordination. Still, an aristocracy would emerge in this society: artist, poets, and musicians, plantation owners, scientists and craftsmen whose talents ...more
Paperback, 570 pages
Published January 28th 1992 by Ballantine Books (first published 1979)
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Daniel Historical fiction, but the information is true. My grandmother once wrote to her daughter, my aunt "Get this book. I don't belong to that class of…moreHistorical fiction, but the information is true. My grandmother once wrote to her daughter, my aunt "Get this book. I don't belong to that class of people, it was before my time." What surprised me about the book which required follow-up research was the fact that there were African-Americans who owned plantations and were slave owners. That information absolutely blew me way. The book is an HBO movie available on DVD. The two disc movie was very good.(less)

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Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel so often gets overlooked; Anne Rice's mystical writings about vampires, mummies and witches easily overshadow it. Pity, because for my money, this is her BEST work. While researching Interview with a Vampire, she gathered enough information, for this, her second novel (as Anne Rice). The book blends a wonderful love of a beautiful city (New Orleans) with a genuine interest in African American culture. The gens de couleur libre, a society of free middle-class mixed-raced people, had ...more
Jennifer Pavich
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Completely different than most Anne Rice novels, this one forgoes the supernatural entirely.

One of my favorite books, this novel is rich with history of pre-Civil War New Orleans and rural Louisiana. Characters are very compelling and Rice deftly explores the nearly mind boggling complexity of race and relationships in a city where degrees of black- or whiteness meant everything.

NOTE: The movie was flat and much oversimplified by comparison, not even worth watching.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love books that highlight African American history, and I was beside myself when i found this book one day in a bin at Goodwill. For .25 I got one of the best books I've ever read. Mrs. Rice weaves an excellent tale about the gen de libre coloure, a little known community of mixed races free people of color that populated Louisiana. I was completely draw into the world of Marcel St. Marie as he struggled with his identity on his road to becoming a man.

This was a great book.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third time I've read this novel. The first, at a tender age of 15, left me wrecked, changed, broken hearted and overwhelmed. I then spent a summer a couple years later reading it aloud to my aunt, who made fun of my French pronunciation as well as added sound effects when necessary (a specialty of hers, learned from many years of listening to me read to her). The second reading cemented my youthful longing for an intelligent man and a journey to the city of light. Now, more than two ...more
Kerry Dunn
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kym Moore
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fist clenching, hyperventilating, teeth grinding story that was an epic piece of work by Anne Rice. She is typically best known for her vampire-themed works but did an incredible job in her storytelling of the tragedies, false identities, and identity crisis affecting so many lives in Louisiana, with this fictional period piece. Yet, Rice included non-fictional events woven into this storyline to reveal those ugly and monstrous truths many tried to hide in the history of this country ...more
I feel bad rating this but a one-star isn’t fair even though I DNF’d it. I like the story and the characters but it is too long and drawn out and I hate the edition I am reading. The text is soooo small. Maybe I will try this again another time.
Jessica Thurlow
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Feast of all Saints: A Refreshing Fiction
I have been a fan of Anne Rice since I was twelve years old. I t was then that Lestat held me in his arms and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. And it is becuse of this experience that the name Rice has become synonymous with all things preternatural for me. Thus, I was shocked to find, when I began reading The Feast of all Saints that the novel contained no elements of the supernatural save for a few instances of spiritual awakening. I confess that I
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, american-lit
This book made me understand colourism in Black society a bit more. Very interesting book, though it took me about 200 pages to really get into it
Alexander Santiago
A beautiful and lush novel set in a very unique community in America in antebellum New Orleans - the gens de couleur libre, the mixed race Creoles of color. The novel, though with many characters who play very important roles in the story, concentrates on the St. Marie family: Cecile St. Marie, the haughty matriarch of dark skin and fine european features who was rescued as a little girl from St. Domingue during the revolt; her daughter, Marie, blessed/cursed with the ability to pass for white, ...more
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is so much better than the vampire books, a complex and fully imagined life of a young free man of color in pre-Civil War New Orleans.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Almost went blind! I'm still crying though.
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Feast of All Saints is one of the most beautifully written books I have read. The story focuses on the lives of the gens de colour, free people of color in antebellum New Orleans, who created a rich and highly cultured society in the midst of prejudice and the world of slavery. Purely historical fiction, and at times skirting the genre of Southern Gothic, it focuses on young Marcel, the blue-eyed mulatto son of a plantation owner who keeps Marcel's mother and his family in luxury in New ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
as of 6/3/08, this is the most beautiful book I've read! It's Anne Rice so very yummy details. All in all a coming of age story for a "free people of color" family in pre-Civil war era. Time piece is great, the adventure and romance of early Louisiana is so intoxicating. Anne seems to have done a fair amount of research on this book (plus she's lived in New Orleans for quite a while) - according to the brief tours I engaged in while in NOLA, many details match up. Some names and dates are ...more
A remarkable well-researched and from-the-heart work of historical fiction which follows the everyday lives of antebellum gens de couleur, also commonly called "Creole" society in Southern Louisiana. A motley assortment of characters and a well-crafted and cleverly paced storyline is accented by unexpectedly complex explorations of racial dynamics from a variety of perspectives along the color line, and mostly within it's lesser explored grayspaces. The author is bold in her trajectory, ...more
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of my three favorite books by Anne Rice. It is set in New Orleans and is about the life of one man and his three families. His white wife and children, his kept quadroon woman and their children, and his slave woman and their child. This book talks about the complexity of race relations in a very personal way and during a time period when people didn't talk about race at all, 1800s. It is not a ghoulish tale, like Rice is known for writing either. It is a period story about ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favs
I have never been so involved in character in a book in my life. It made laugh, cry and scream it was so damn good! The history was accurate, the imagery breath taking. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Mar 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
I never finished this one. It never really went anywhere. I probably read half of it and decided to stop.
Sep 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
Long and rambling. Not really my taste in books. The writing was amazing and so were the characters. I'm just not much for conversation based plots.
Deirdre Straughan
Apparently Rice's second book, after "Interview with the Vampire," this is a fascinating and lushly written historical novel about the free people of color who lived in New Orleans (and elsewhere) before the Civil War.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the atmosphere was so heavy i could choke on it. it would be a good way to die too.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another rare subject for a novel. A must read even if it isn't supernatural vampires and wolves.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying that Anne Rice is my favorite author. I discovered her work when I was barely a teenager. Rice painted vivid, metaphysical worlds for her vampires, witches, and spirits. The page turning tales she spun were an escape that brought me through some of the toughest trials of my adolescence. There was one novel, though, that I completely disregarded because it was of the historical fiction genre. The Feast of All Saints is set in Louisiana in the 1840's. The main characters are ...more
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Jade Brelsford
Although mostly known for her vampire fiction, Rice's non-paranormal books are easily her best as Cry To Heaven and now this deftly illustrate.

A beautiful mix of history and fiction that plunges us into the incredibly complex lives of the Free People of Colour of New Orleans in the mid 19th century, a world I was largely ignorant of prior to picking this up, I loved this book and soon found myself absorbed completely. Written mostly from the viewpoint of the St Marie family (Cecile, under
Scott Williams
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This was my first reading of Anne Rice's second novel. In it, you can clearly see the beginnings of the writer she would become. Here we see the roots of her explorations of historical New Orleans and the multigenerational family storytelling that her Mayfair Witches series would make her famous for.

I love that in 1979, Rice included a gay character in a work of popular fiction without comment. This person is simply present and his romantic entanglements are described as benignly as any others.
Roberta Stewart
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
As I said about "Cry To Heaven" don't dismiss this as just another Anne Rice book. It's an historical novel about being a mixed race or mulatto young man in 19th century New Orleans. There was a whole class of colored, well-off, well-educated and cultured people in New Orleans at this time. They ranked far above the blue-collar Irish immigrants in the complex social strata of the Crescent City. While Anne Rice's writing tends towards the overlush, this is a captivating, interesting story of a ...more
Patrice Hoffman
The book was well written but I still found my self bored with it. I guess I should stick to my thrillers. There were moments when I wanted to throw it down and give up but then there were aspects of this book that had me intrigued. Because of this book I will postpone reading anymore anne rice books. I don't want to be bored out of my mind anymore. But still... She's a great writer.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book which gave much historical information about the Octroon balls and how these women were kept by the white slave and pklantation owners. It also focused on what life was like for the children born into that arrangement and what it was like for the free black business who lived in that era.
Very interesting historically-especially for a mulatto like myself:)
Stef Rozitis
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1991-2000
Horribly believable historical novel about race, and about having very limited ways of performing masculinity and femininity and even family relationships. Noone in the book is completely innocent, but noone in it is free to be the idealist you would wish either.

The book was hauntingly sad, had a sort of despairing flavour and a scent of a marshy hot place to it.

Very worth a read.
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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 ...more
“When you find out there is no ultimate good and evil in which you can place your faith, the world does not fall apart at the seams. It simply means that every decision is more difficult, more critical, because you are creating the good and evil yourself and they are very real.” 32 likes
“Nothing was anything until someone defined it. Nothing was inevitable. Nothing was inviolate. Everything existed, perhaps, by the act of faith, and we were always in the midst of creating our world, complete with the trappings of tradition that was nothing more than an invention like all the rest.” 2 likes
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