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The Witching Hour

Written by: Anne Rice
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Length: 50 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[A] huge and sprawling tale of horror." (The New York Times Book Review)

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of four centuries of witches - a family given to poetry and incest, murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being called Lasher who haunts the Mayfair women.

Moving in time from today's New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and the France of Louis XIV, from the coffee plantations of Port-au-Prince to Civil War New Orleans and back to today, Anne Rice has spun a mesmerizing tale that challenges everything we believe in.

©2010 Anne Rice (P)2015 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"[A] huge and sprawling tale of horror." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Was alright.

It took wayyyyy to long to get going. I liked it but, be prepared to listen for a long time to get to a point where it keeps you interested.....Don't give up eventually it will.

1 person found this helpful

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Mesmerising story!

What journey this book was!!!love performance.Had great time! Whole experience was wonderful!! Anna Rice did it again!

1 person found this helpful

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It was great until it wasn’t...

I was really enjoying the story of the Mayfair Witches and especially the character or Rowan. But then it all went south at about 3/4 of the way through. I don’t want to spoil things, but I feel her character just does a 180 and betrays everything and the story goes loopy. The ending tries to be “deeper” than the plot can support. I mean I spent FIFTY HOURS listening to this thing and was left feeling like I should have been listening to several other books during that span instead. Disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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Ohhhh, the witches!!!

Even after 15 plus years this reread was just as good as if it were the first time!!! Love Ann Rice and her timeless stories that never bore.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good!

I have read the Witching Hour twice and really enjoyed listening to it being read to me. Kate Reading does a wonderful job of portraying the characters with individual accents and tones.

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Engaging and Interesting

Having been to New Orleans I found this story so engaging and entertaining. I could see first street and the places they describe. Just loved this book!

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  • Ed
  • 2019-01-07

What a great way to start

It was a fun Journey through the lives, trials and tribs of the Mayfair’s.
Two more books ta go 😀

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  • R.
  • 2018-11-30

Long boring sections

The book is very long and boring for most of it but I could not quit until the end which did leave me wanting for more. The reader did a good job and is what kept me going for this 50 hour audio book.

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A five hour story

Expanded to fifty. The plot was good. The writing was dreadful. The first three hours were all telling and no showing. The last chapter wasn’t bad, but perhaps I was simply relieved that the ordeal was over. Save your hard earned. This isn’t worth it.

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A horribly wonderful story!

A fantastic story that pulls you along through horrible family secrets and crazy lives of women who are cursed with witchcraft! No matter the awful things that happened I couldn’t put it down! Well worth reading. Anne Rice is of course an amazing writer!!

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  • Wendy
  • 2015-10-22

THANK YOU AUDIBLE!

Any additional comments?

I have been waiting YEARS for an unabridged reading of The Witching Hour

Twenty years ago I picked up this book off my mother’s nightstand hoping to read a few chapters to help me fall asleep the night before a big college exam. Needless to say I was still completely immersed in the book when my alarm clock went off at 7:00am. I missed my exam, and the following two days of school because I could not put the book down.

This book centers on the Mayfair Family, but it is really a ghost story. In each generation of the Mayfair Family a daughter is chosen as the “Designee”. She is the Matriarch of the next generation, she is the “heir” to the entire Mayfair fortune, and most importantly, she is a Witch – for only a Mayfair Witch can see “The Man”. But who is “The Man”? Why has he haunted the Mayfair women for centuries? What is his purpose? Is he friend or foe?

To help answer these questions is The Talamasca – a secret society of historians with special powers of their own, self-imposed with the responsibility of watching – recording – and offering assistance to those with special abilities (mind reading, mediums, psychics etc.… ) to help control their powers, or to offer refuge to those being persecuted for having those powers. The Talamasca has been watching the Mayfair family from a distance for centuries, collecting every bit of data on “The Man” and the current Mayfair Designee available to them.

When the book opens, the current Designee is close to death and her daughter – Rowan Mayfair – is completely unaware of the Inheritance she is about to receive. Adopted at birth and whisked away to California, Rowan has no idea of her family in New Orleans or the history surrounding them. She is soon thrust into the Mayfair Legacy and she must – with the help of those close to her – find a way to overcome the tragedies that have claimed the sanity and lives of the Mayfair Witches that have come before her.

A few things to know:
Anne Rice is very hot/cold writer in my opinion. Her books are either great or horrible. Obviously, this book is great! But it is the first in a trilogy and the second book “Lasher” is not so great. But please don’t let that stop you from getting this book – I have read, and re-read this book many times as a stand-alone. I see that the next two books will be available on Audible and I still plan to get them. I have not re-read the second or third book in over 20 years, so I am interested to see how my 40ish year old brain interprets the story vs. my 20ish year old brain.

Anne Rice is very descriptive writer. Some see this as a negative – I disagree wholeheartedly! One of the reasons I love this book is because I feel completely sucked in. It’s a total immersion. I can smell the gardenias on First Street. I can feel the summer breeze, taste the coffee, and feel the prickle on the back of my neck. It the type of book where I find the transition from “book world” to “real world” very jarring and hard to reacquaint myself with the everyday details of my life.

I will address one of the frequent negative review complaints: It’s a big book – about 950+ pages in print, and 50 hours in Audio. Like I said, Rice is a very descriptive writer, and it works for this story. The beginning can feel a bit slow at spots… and just about when the plot really gets going and the reader realizes the enormity of the situation (that Holy &^!% moment), the story comes to a complete halt and the reader is given the complete history of the Mayfair family from the Talamasca. When I got to this part during my first reading I actually said out loud, “NO!!!” – it was 300+ pages of history I didn’t want to schlep through just when the story was getting very, very climatic. Trust me, some of the best parts of this story are within the History. We are taken back 300 years and guided through the history of each Mayfair Designee. When the story finally came back to “present day” I was saddened to leave such a rich and beautiful history behind.

Narration: This is my first experience with Kate Reading. I think she did a fine job. For the type of story it is – a slow and unfolding, unhurried and eloquent tale – she was a good fit. Some scenes I thought could have been done differently, but on a whole, I have no complaints. One thing that I found interesting – As I said in my opening paragraph, this book sucked me in so hard that I actually called in sick just to stay home and read. Since finding Audible, it has opened up the world of books to me because I can “read” while I do other things. I average about 4 books a month and listen while I drive, do housework, grocery shop, etc.… But even listening to this book, I found myself sitting down in my favorite chair and just listening… I still lost an entire weekend to this book – even in the audio format. So be warned! lol

For the easily offended: Pass on this book. Make no mistake, this is a beautifully written story – but it has its moments of being shocking, taboo, gross, and morally offensive to some.

282 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cathie
  • 2016-01-26

A Must For Anne Rice Fans - Finally in Unabridged!

Like many other fans, I have waited years to have the Mayfair Witches books in unabridged version, and I will keep these in my collection forever. For me, Anne Rice books either pull me in and I am an instant fan or I am left struggling to finish. The Witching Hour is one of her best, in my opinion.

As is typical with Anne Rice, these books are VERY descriptive. Sometimes painfully descriptive. In the end, I believe the elaborate descriptions are a big part of the magic of these books. They tell such a grand, lavish story, spanning so many generations, and enveloping the listener so deeply that it is easy to feel as if you are there with them. And they're so much more magical when listening to the stories being read rather than reading them. Especially with such a superb narrator as Kate Reading.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Liberty
  • 2015-11-06

Greatest Supernatural Thriller of the 20th Century

finally arrives, unabridged and expertly produced, in the Audible archive. Whether you are an avid Anne Rice fan or new to her work, you must hear The Witching Hour in its entirety. In addition to the vivid imagery of location, sensation and ethical evolution of her characters for which Anne Rice is world famous, the Witching Hour delivers the most complete, detailed portrait of The Talamasca available in any of her supernatural thrillers. As the history of The Mayfair Witches unfolds, the ancient order of The Talamasca reveals its own history, purpose and growth through the centuries. Although members of the Talamasca are characters in Rice's novels, it's the Witching Hour that births the Talamasca as a fully formed, perfectly complete character in its own right. The Witching Hour is, in fact, the key hole door of Rice's supernatural thrillers as surely as that image is to this powerful, emotional story. Your supernatural library won't be complete without this unabridged production of The Witching Hour.

51 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • stephen
  • 2016-01-22

I'm totally under this spell

Would you consider the audio edition of The Witching Hour to be better than the print version?

Yes, I'm not certain I could have made it through all the genealogy in print.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Witching Hour?

New Orleans!

What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

Her voice is amazingly clear and never gets dull. You can tell she enjoys reading the books the narrates, it is more than a job for her and that comes through.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

HA! absolutely NOT, 50 hrs? come on!

Any additional comments?

Do it, just download and do it :)

13 people found this helpful

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  • rachel
  • 2015-11-20

Great Anne Rice classic.

If you could sum up The Witching Hour in three words, what would they be?

interesting, entertaining, powerful

What did you like best about this story?

The story and characters

Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've never listened to Kate Reading before, she did a excellent job. I hope she finishes this series.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

not sure, I still have about 2 chapters to finish book 1

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick Manix
  • 2016-07-21

Great story but the narrator got annoying

This is one of Anne Rices best and most ambitious novels. There are more characters in "The Witching Hour" than in "War and Peace" and Rice pulled it off beautifully.

The downside is the woman narrating the book. She was great in some portions but when it came to the voice of the lead male character, she portrayed him with a voice that sounded like an uneducated man from Brooklyn and not an intelligent man born in New Orleans and grew up in San Francisco.

It was annoying enough that I'm not going to buy the other novels in the series ("Lasher" & "Taltos") because the same narrator reads those as well.

15 people found this helpful

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  • J. Harrell
  • 2015-11-03

Finally!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely! Anne Rice excels at descriptive writing. She makes you feel the drowsiness of a quiet, muggy and still New Orleans afternoon in the Garden District. She hits all of your senses.

What other book might you compare The Witching Hour to and why?

I just finished Clive Barker's Gallilee. It has supernatural incidents taking place in contemporary, ordinary life; takes you across time and covers the multi-generational aspects of a familial dynasty.

What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

I have a large number of audiobooks, therefore, I have listened to quite a few narrators. She is in my top three female narrators..

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but due to its length it wasn't possible.

Any additional comments?

This was my first Anne Rice book (might be a 1st printing). I came across it while killing time in the early 1980's at Borders Books of San Rafael in Marin County, CA. I had no idea that some of the story took place in Marin County and San Francisco. Some of it also takes place in Louisiana where some of my relatives have lived since the late 1800's. I recognized and driven on many of the streets mentioned which makes adds to the enjoyment and experience of the book.

I had actually put in a request to Audible years ago for an unabridged version, because the abridgment cut out way too much.

Enjoy!

22 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob-o
  • 2015-11-19

Well worth the time for Anne Rice fans...

I love Anne Rice and this didn't disappoint. It's a very long book and I never felt impatient for it to end. I've listened to other books about the Mayfair Witches on Audible, but since they only had the abridged versions of The Witching Hour, Lasher, and Taltos I skipped them. Now that the unabridged versions of those books are on Audible I'm gobbling them up. This book is about the history of, and the stories of, all of the Mayfair Witches up to Rowan Mayfair, and that's a lot of material to cover, hence the length of the book. This is a little bit outside of my Epic Fantasy genre, but if you liked the vampire diaries you'll probably like this too, like me.

The additional bonus for me is that it's narrated by Kate Reading. She's one of my favorite narrators.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 2015-11-09

Unabridged! Finally! Great production.

What other book might you compare The Witching Hour to and why?

This has always been one of my favourite Anne Rice novels, and after being an Audible member for 10 years I'm SO happy that it has finally been released in the unabridged format.
The Lives of the Mayfair Witches does intertwine with the New Tales of the Vampires (Merrick and Blackwood Farm) but the fascinating history that she weaves in this novel can stand alone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I especially enjoy the detailed family history when Rowan reads the Talamasca files on the Mayfair family.

18 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Grammie
  • 2016-05-07

Not 4 me

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

EDITING!!!!!! And even then that is a big maybe.

Has The Witching Hour turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Reading?

Kate Reading is a good reader but the narrative is so bad that no one could redeem it.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Witching Hour?

Unlike the author I don't have enough space to even begin. A general observation: found writing repetitive with too much information that did not propel the story forward. Became very boring and tedious.

Any additional comments?

Would not be in the least interested in completing the trilogy.

5 people found this helpful