Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Blackwood Farm
Anne Rice
Knopf Books, 530 pages

Carol Devine Carson
Blackwood Farm
Anne Rice
Anne Rice was born in 1941 in New Orleans. In 1957, her family moved to Richardson, Texas. After high school, she got married and moved to to San Francisco in 1962. In 1973, she wrote Interview With The Vampire. She has gone on to write numerous bestselling books and has had published several other titles writing as Anne Rampling and A.N. Roquelaure. She and her family live in New Orleans.

Anne Rice Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Merrick

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Tarquin (Quinn) Blackwood has lived with his personal ghost for as long as he has memory. Goblin is his mirror image, a sometimes bratty, sometimes sly but always loving shade that no one can see but Quinn. The family ignores him for the most part, unsure what to make of their beloved child's habit of talking to the air, judging it harmless. Harmless and loving until recently, that is. Now Quinn has been given the dark gift, and Goblin wants his share of the blood. After Quinn feeds, Goblin takes over, drinking from the vampire, getting stronger and more terrifying every time. This forces Quinn to sneak into New Orleans, to risk his life to gain the trust of the only person who can help him... the vampire Lestat.

Lestat goes to Blackwood farm with him, to hear the whole of his story. There, Lestat is introduced to some of the main characters of the tale... Aunt Queen, a world-traveling woman of great gentility with a mania for cameos, and Jasmine, a beautiful and trustworthy employee. When the two are finally able to talk alone, Lestat invites Tarquin to tell the whole story, not only because he hopes that by hearing it from the beginning he might be able to find some clue to help the new vampire, but because he is intrigued by the handsome young man and his family.

And tell it he does. Anne Rice has a story telling style like no one else, and Tarquin's voice as he relates his story with no interruptions from his guest is very recognizable. The character's voice and the author's style meld together to create a tone, a feeling to Blackwood Farm that harkens back to the old time. He mentions a love of Dickens, and yes, a ghost of that time's style, a way of relating that is slightly dramatic, yet very elegant can be felt. I'd like to use the word elegant again, for the book is... elegant and hedonistic and slightly sensual. It opens a window into a way of life that I had never experienced. Don't laugh now... I'm not talking about vampire life, which doesn't play much of a part in the main body of the story until the end, but the way of life of a haunted boy growing up in New Orleans. The relationships these people have -- a teen-aged Tarquin sleeps quite innocently with Big Ramona, a grandmotherly woman who runs the kitchens -- provides a very different perspective to me, but I am told that this is an old tradition. He gets to the edge of fussy once in awhile, for instance, saying that he was so into relating a horrible thing that happened to him that he forgot to wipe his lips before drinking and went through three wine glasses. The point that she emphasizes this is interesting... you have to wonder what she is trying to say, that this polite action that most of us take for granted means so much that he points out his lack of not having done so in his narrative. It is also a world where mind-boggling amounts of money are readily available. Usually I'd cite this as something nicely convenient. I've slowly begun to think that having your characters extremely wealthy is taking the easy way out. While I like the idea of having all the money we need at our fingertips, and the paths that such funds clear, it makes situations too easily resolved. In this case the riches are a necessary plot device, because it does make it easier for Tarquin to solve problems. But it also characterizes him; how he decorates the hermitage, how he acts when he comes into part of his inheritance and discovers a family secret, and the fact they are wealthy adds a great deal to the opulent feel of the book.

This review would not be complete with out a look at the other important characters of this book, The Mayfairs. Rowan, Oncle Julian, and Mona Mayfair, who Quinn falls desperately for, play a major part in the story as the Mayfairs fight for the saving of Mona's life, and Mona fights for the living of it. I would not dare say that this is the first crossing of the two families, but I liked seeing the Mayfairs... particularly Rowan, from a perspective where the family is not the star factor of the book.

I stopped reading Anne Rice awhile back. I was never a big Mayfair fan. I'm more for vampires than witches, I guess, but I thought even her Vampires were getting a little weary of their immortal lives. Blackwood Farm has probably brought me back to her. You re-meet some people (I say this because they feel like people who have already had their own book) who are sufficiently intriguing enough for me to want to hunt down these books and catch up. Lestat, even though he had a minor role, is as vibrant as always, making me prowl my shelves for books I bought at library sales to find out what one of my favorite vampires has been up to since The Tale of the Body Thief.

Blackwood Farm is a good addition to the vampire chronicles. Full-bodied, it is like drinking the finest of wines, with just the right mixture of horror and blood and affection in its bouquet to make for an engaging experience.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide