We all know Anne Rice for her Vampire Chronicles, which I truly adore and have read and re-read since my very early teens, but fewer people know about the Mayfair Witches Trilogy. The Witching Hour is the first installment in the trilogy and the most eloquently engrossing piece of work I have ever read. Anne Rice is known for her ability to paint vivid settings in the reader's mind and her fascinating incorporation of history into her novels and The Witching Hour is the richest mix of history and intrigue in a splendidly gothic setting. In this novel Anne Rice takes us from present day California and Louisiana all the way back to Scotland in 1664. From there the story works forward through time through late 17th century France to the islands of the Caribbean to New Orleans, following the evolution of the Mayfair family, while developing the present day story. Once the fascinating history of the family is revealed the book continues in present day dealing with the presence that has cursed and haunted the family through the centuries. The rich prose allows you to envision the rooms of the First Street house that is the center of it all and the dark beauty of the Garden District while you read, making it a riveting experience. The characters are thoroughly developed and convey their personality so well that it's hard to set it down, although at over 1,000 pages you may have to.
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