The Witching Hour - Anne Rice

The Witching Hour

By Anne Rice

  • Release Date: 1990-10-16
  • Genre: Fantasy
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 384 Ratings)

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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 the ages, is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.

On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking . . . and The Witching Hour begins.

It begins in our time with a rescue at sea.  Rowan Mayfair, a beautiful woman, a brilliant practitioner of neurosurgery--aware that she has special powers but unaware that she comes from an ancient line of witches--finds the drowned body of a man off the coast of California and brings him to life.  He is Michael Curry, who was born in New Orleans and orphaned in childhood by fire on Christmas Eve, who pulled himself up from poverty, and who now, in his brief interval of death, has acquired a sensory power that mystifies and frightens him.

As these two, fiercely drawn to each other, fall in love and--in passionate alliance--set out to solve the mystery of her past and his unwelcome gift, the novel moves backward and forward in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and a château in the France of Louis XIV.  An intricate tale of evil unfolds--an evil unleashed in seventeenth-century Scotland, where the first "witch," Suzanne of the Mayfair, conjures up the spirit she names Lasher . . . a creation that spells her own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn.

From the coffee plantations of Port au Prince, where the great Mayfair fortune is made and the legacy of their dark power is almost destroyed, to Civil War New Orleans, as Julien--the clan's only male to be endowed with occult powers--provides for the dynasty its foothold in America, the dark, luminous story encompasses dramas of seduction and death, episodes of tenderness and healing.  And always--through peril and escape, tension and release--there swirl around us the echoes of eternal war: innocence versus the corruption of the spirit, sanity against madness, life against death.  With a dreamlike power, the novel draws us, through circuitous, twilight paths, to the present and Rowan's increasingly inspired and risky moves in the merciless game that binds her to her heritage. And in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve, this strangest of family sagas is brought to its startling climax.


  • Engrossing and Thorough, a Dedicated Read

    By jcb81
    I was surprised to read some of the horrible ratings, while few, on this novel, which I honestly considered to be Rice’s greatest work to date. Such as The Stand and other epic novels, Rice seems to, despite its cast of too many characters, create from thin air an entire new world where the rules that we know don’t exist. But she explains these rules, further engrossing you into the narrative. I think that if you are familiar with Anne Rice’s descriptors in general and pick up such a dedicated, thick read about witches, you should maybe ask yourself why you even tried.
  • Waste of my time

    Truly the most horrible waste of my time. Author was in love with typing aimlessly on her keyboard apparently. 1200 pages could have..and should have been condensed to 400 at the most. Never will read another Ann Rice again!
  • Get To The Point

    By Ceb272727
    The exposition carries on and on and on, and almost feels stream of conscious at times in the way one topic piggybacks on another. To be fair, I didn’t finish it. But 500 pages in, and I haven’t even met the protagonist?? Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a long novel. However, if I hadn’t done done internet sleuthing, I still wouldn’t know what the book was actually about.
  • One of my favorites.

    By NormaJean62
    I have read this book so many times! This read comes after a long absence from my Anne Rice library. This round I found there are pages of words that seem to go on and on, specifically at the end. My favorite part will always be in the telling of the story of the witches. I have been a fan of Anne Rice since the Vampire Chronicles began and yes, I have forgiven her the choice of Tom Cruise as Lestat.
  • Bored to tears, until finally...

    By flydiversd
    I just couldn't get thru 80% of the book devoted to the chronicles of the Mayfair witches throughout the ages. I had read many of the vampire novels in the past, and this was painful. Read a chapter each night to put me to sleep for about a month. Then decided to just skip over the whole "document" section. Turns out the actual story, which took about 20% of the book (and still as long as most novels), was a pretty good story. Unfortunately, it didn't conclude as I will not be reading anther.

    By ghost zapper
    I am currently re-reading this book for the third time it never gets old and keeps me totally entranced. This is a book that will stay with me forever as it haunts me. Love it love Anne Rice and thanks to this book I am completely obsessed with New Orleans. Thank you Anne Rice for your wonderful mind that keeps your fans in love with you.
  • The Witching Hour

    By EvnanBradenton
    Probably the best Anne Rice novel that I have read of hers. But after investing 1388 pages you would think she owed a more complete ending....Instead she gave us no real ending for an excuse; - to buy another book.
  • This is my favorite book by Anne Rice, so far.

    By Sky bag
    I just reread this book and fell in love with it all over again. I read 'Interview With The Vampire', 'The Mummy', 'Exit to Eden', 'Violin', etc., but 'The Witching Hour' is by far the best, in my opinion! The story is intoxicating and addictive. It took a lot of discipline to put this book (iPad) down! (And I'm not a bookworm by any stretch of the imagination)
  • Love this book

    By Samanthadee7
    This is one of the few books that I have read many times. I've replaced my copy, twice! Love it!!
  • unforgettable!

    By CharmZee
    read this about 4 years ago ? just borrowed the book from a friend and I totally can't forget it! Just have to buy the book for myself