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The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Set primarily in New Orleans, this is a very atmospheric read. Of all the places in the US that I wouldn’t mind visiting it is probably that city and this book plays no small part in it. Primarily about Rowan Mayfair, a neurosurgeon in San Francisco who was adopted at birth and starts to find out about her birth family after the death of her adoptive parents, and Michael Curry, a period house restorer who after a near death experience begins an interaction with Rowan and her Mayfair family. 

I don’t think I would call this a horror novel, nothing particularly scary happens but it does build a rich atmosphere of danger, little and large hints that things are not quite right with the Mayfair family.

Our two main characters are both fairly well drawn though there is more than a hint of Mary/Gary Stu about them. Both beautiful and rich and well educated with impeccable taste etc. The real selling point of this book is the history of the Mayfair family. I’d say a good third of this very large book is basically a written record of it, with some flashbacks thrown in as well. Some might find it boring but I thought it was the best bit. Anne Rice really invokes a sense of different times and places as the earliest bits go back to the seventeenth century. The ending felt somewhat rushed though which is surprising considering the length of the story. It also leaves on a bit of cliffhanger which I dislike.

Be warned there is quite a lot of explicit sex scenes in the book, as well as references to rape and incest so if you dislike that probably stay away. However by and large I really enjoyed this, I was totally caught up in the story and seduced by the lifestyle portrayed. It is fairly melodramatic and overly long but in the right moment, as I was, this is a great read.

PS If there is an organisation called The Talamasca, I would like to join, thanks.

4 stars out of 5

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