The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

I discovered Alice Hoffman years after the movie Practical Magic came out. This movie is one of my all time favorites. I almost felt embarrassed when I realized there was a book. It was a for sure DUH! moment. Well, if I thought the movie was great the book was AMAZING. I read it in one afternoon. Then last year I was approved to read another book by Alice Hoffman, Faithful and I loved it just as much.  So when I was contacted to review the ARC of The Rules of Magic I agreed even before I read the synopsis. I was way jazzed when I realized it is a prequel to Practical Magic.

I enjoyed reading this book because I found a little bit of myself in each one of the characters. The three siblings from the cursed Owens family find their way through life as teenagers. They have to face some heavy duty issues such as death, isolation, and all the normal teenage stuff. In this book, Hoffman introduces a male witch from the family. This was a nice twist. If you have not seen or read Practical Magic, the Owens family are all witches who are cursed. Anyone who falls in love with an Owens witch dies, somehow.  This book takes place many years before Practical Magic and I liked how Hoffman adds in some historic references to enhance the plot. I also like the way she writes the witchcraft angle. It is not a fantasy book with witches who do all kinds of unique and crazy stuff. A lot of the things these characters do that is considered witchcraft are things my grandma did for years. And she was considered a witch for completely different reasons. It’s a moving story that challenges the reader to acknowledge who they really are and challenges all of us to do whatever we need to for love. The last point I want to make about this book has to deal with the ending. I won’t say anything about it because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it was a perfect transition.

I really want more from Hoffman about these characters. Honestly, I need to go back and read more of her books.

From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.
Find your magic.
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.
The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

** This book will be out in October**


Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman’s first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff’s magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women’s Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman’s recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family’s secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

**I received a copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for a review**



    1. Let me know what you think. Have you seen Rogue One? If you did, you will understand when I mention how smooth the transition was between the prequel and Episode 4 (I will leave it there in case you haven’t). Well, this transition was just a smooth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *