Sunday, January 26, 2014

'The Wolves of Midwinter'

Years ago, when I first read the book, 'Interview with the Vampire', I was totally smitten. I'm not really one for vampires (any mention of blood makes me squirm), but 'Interview...' was written so well, and with such elegance, that the bloody scenes didn't make me wince.  I was enthralled with the story of Lestat and his companions. I loved the eroticism and gothic feel.  Soon after that, I read 'The Witching Hour', and Anne Rice became one of my favorite writers.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had met her years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter.  Anne made me sit down and we talked about children and writing.  She is one of the most generous of writers, and she has earned the respect (and devotion) of countless fans.  Including yours truly.

It came as a surprise to me when I learned she had written a book about Jesus Christ...and even more surprised when I discovered it was written from His perspective.  It was joyful and innocent, yet it filled me with dread.  Who wouldn't be filled with dread when you know how His physical life ended?  But it was written with great beauty and grace...and quite a bit of humor, I was happy to discover.  

And as much as I loved her 'Beauty' series (by the way, she's writing a fourth in the series), it is her paranormal stories that really touch me.  When I first read 'The Wolf Gift', I fell into the story of a man who was destined to become the Man Wolf, savior of the innocent and downtrodden.  Killer of bad guys.  It was right up my alley.

The second book, 'The Wolves of Midwinter', takes place during the Yuletide, a time when warm holiday traditions are renewed at Nideck Point, the mansion Reuben Golding inherited in Northern California.  It is an elegant place that houses not only members of the Morphenkinder, but plays host to the Forest Gentry, beings as ancient as the Morphenkinder, and who live in the vast forests surrounding the estate. 

But Reuben has been visited by a spirit who cannot speak, a spirit in torment.  A spirit desperate for guidance.  And it is his task to help this spirit in any way he can.

The writing is elegant and erotic, with suspense filling every chapter.  And the characters are so finely drawn.  Reuben, weighing family devotion on one hand, and his new life on the other. The beautiful Laura, living with her own changes. And Felix, trying to keep a steady, thoughtful hand on situations fraught with tension.  And there are new additions to this cast of characters, characters that are totally original, yet firmly set within this new mythology of the Morphenkinder.

Anne Rice has done it, again.  She brings us something new, something fresh, and yet, ironically, ageless.

'The Wolves of Midwinter' (#2 in The Wolf Gift Chronicles), published by Alfred A. Knopf, is available at your local library and independent bookstore.  ISBN 9780385349963

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