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Publisher's Summary

Author Michael McDowell, known for his chilling Blackwater series, left behind the unfinished manuscript of Candles Burning at his death in 1999. His close friend, Tabitha King, has taken up where he left off, weaving a Southern gothic fabric of murder, guilt, innocence, corruption, and survival, in the voices of the living and the dead.

Seven-year-old Calley Dakin is daddy's little girl, but her well-born mother persists in her contempt for the Dakin name. When her daddy is tortured and murdered by two women with no discernible motivation, Calley and her mother find themselves caught up in inexplicable events that exile them to Pensacola Beach. There, another woman awaits their presence, a woman who knows what Calley is and who seeks to control her. For Calley is no ordinary little girl.

©2006 Michael McDowell (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[A] lightly supernatural confection....King completes it beautifully as to tone, aura, and flavor, and it's funny and intriguing, magnetically readable." (Booklist)
"A mix of magic realism and Southern gothic, this stunning collaboration moves at a hypnotic pace, like an Alabama water moccasin slipping through black water." (Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    60
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    40
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    132
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    5
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    5

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    92
  • 4 Stars
    47
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    6
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pay Attention!!

This is more than just the charming coming of age story of a slightly different southern girl named Calliope. I set out listening to it as though Ms. King & Mr. McDowell were relating a story of a sweet girl, her society mother and dominant grandmother. But it's much more.
I had to go back to the beginning and listen to parts again. I had forgotten critical details in the little vignettes about Calliope's childhood that turned into important points later on.
The story itself, is very good. You'll find yourself rooting for Callie, as she develops into a woman, much to the chagrin of her mother and the manipulative souls around her, but the mystery buried within is what the book is all about.
So, pay attention to the details and you will enjoy the book that much more.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • WINTON, CA, USA
  • 06-13-07

Awesome

At the beginning I thought of fast forwarding. Glad I didn't there was one spot where I said "Oh Yeah" this is going to be great. And I wasn't wrong. Strong story line with well developed characters. Subtle is how I would characterize this amazing novel. If you like supernateral tales then this one is for you. Mother and daughter relationship is somewhat humerous. Not funny ha ha though. Coming of age is also an important theme. All in all this book is an enjoyable and rewarding listen. Finally I must say that the Narrator could not have added more flavor to this delicious tale. It basically has a Southern backdrop with a little girl able to communicate with dead people.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

very Tabitha King.

It's been a while since I have read a Tabitha King Novel but this novel is so her...especially the twist...surprised the crap outta me...pretty good story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Two different stories that didn't blend

The start of the book was so promising. Then the second half was a different story with somewhat similar characters. The southern charm of the first half was definitely out of the second part. And the second part droned on: chapters that didn't move the story along and boring characters bits, rubbing mamma's feet as a teenager?!! The supernatural part was introduced in the second part and not interesting. I do not recommend this :( However the narrator was excellent...the story was dull as a butter knife.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dragged on and on

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I loved the detail in this book and I thought the writing was good. The problem is it dragged on and on without much happening. The ending was very anticlimactic as well. I felt that they left many things unexplained and the way the ending was wrapped up it almost felt like an afterthought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Cathy
  • Ridgecrest, CA, USA
  • 10-21-09

Great Story, EXCELLENT narrator!

I found this book to be riveting. I loved the story line and the narrator, Carrington MacDuffe, took me 'there' with her superb southern accent. I was spellbound. But, I have to admit, that I was a little disappointed in the ending. But, overall, it was still an excellent adventure.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

What the...?

I gave this three stars because of how realistic the characters seemed, and how fantastical and mysterious the story Almost was, but it should have gotten 2.5 instead. I like Michael McDowell's work a lot, and i could tell where his touches were at some moments in particular, but then i could also tell that Tabatha King likely took over and steered his ship into the ground. He wasn't a perfect writer, but this isn't something i can imagine him doing. I know it's no small task, finishing the work of a departed novelist. But so many of McDowell's creepy moments just ended up silly nonsense that, i guess, was supposed to be metaphorical in King's eyes. That, and it just didn't have much rise and fall to it, like the plot maintained a flat mundaneness until the last half hour. Too bad.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing narrator

This narrator has exceptional talent. Her voice is mesmerizing and she employs perfect inflection. A wonderful experience.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic!

this is the first Tabitha King book i have read and the first of many to come! i love Michael McDowell novels. this one took me to a place in my family with southern roots. a little gone with the wind a lot to kill a mockingbird

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story and narrator

I will have to rate this with one of my favorites. Narrator excellent in story telling, differantiating character voices, and keeping attention of audience. I just loved this.