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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan's Gal Sal
  • 21-03-07

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • 13-06-07

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Cathy
  • 21-10-09

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 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kytrena vedder
  • 19-09-17

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

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lauren
  • 13-03-18

Tabitha King ruins an easy lay-up. Terrible.

The only reason I gave this book two stars is because Michael McDowell is phenomenal. All of his other books are wonderful, but man oh man does Tabitha King know how to ruin a book fast. It was evident where McDowell left off and King picked up the story. She destroyed the characters down to the way they speak. Did she not have her husband read it first. she pretty much broke all of Stephen King's rules when it comes to developing and maintaining characters. Poorly done Mrs. King. Very poorly done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • A Buchanan
  • 19-12-16

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
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-15

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

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A. E. Smart
  • 24-04-18

painfully awful

Would you try another book from Tabitha King and Michael McDowell and/or Carrington Macduffie?

I liked McDowell's Blackwater saga very much, which made this one even more disappointing. I guess I don't know what to expect from Tabitha King.

What was most disappointing about Tabitha King and Michael McDowell ’s story?

This story was painful to listen to, with the mean-spirited treatment of Cally by her Mother, Grandmother and brother. The plot was left mostly unexplained with not one hint as to the motive for the murder of the father until the very end of the book. Why was Cally special? I still don't know. Why did her hair fall out? How did the island protect them? Who were they being protected from? A book of arguements and cruelty and not much story.

What does Carrington Macduffie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A very sweet Southern accent.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I am thankful to have not grown up in the South in the '50's.

Any additional comments?

The download of this book also skipped and stopped at random points while being played.
Not a great listening experience at all.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jena
  • 06-04-18

Disappointing and tedious.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Michael McDowells books and looked forward to listening to Candles Burning. The narration was wonderfully done, and in truth the only thing that kept my interest going thru the interminable length of this novel. It was easy to see that this was “ ghost written” by a less masterful hand. Horrendous bore of a story told with perfect Southern charm.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • tina
  • 13-03-18

Wonderful

It’s with much sorrow to know that Michael McDonnell will never write another masterpiece such as this one. It kept me enthralled and emotionally entertained. Continuously looking forward to when I could listen again!! And our narrator Carrington Mcduffie was perfect.