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The Book of Magic


The Book of Magic

“‘Witchery is not a choice. This is not the Unnamed Art, which women have been practicing for hundreds of years, perhaps since the beginning of time, training themselves to use herbs and green magic. It’s a bloodline situation.’ When she still looked blank, he added, ‘An inheritance.’”

Young Kylie Owens finds out that her mother Sally, her aunt Franny and their ancestor Marie Owens are all part of a lineage of working witches in New England. THE BOOK OF MAGIC tells us how that knowledge shapes and informs the stories in Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series.

Kylie is learning something that the rest of us who are fans of the series already know: No matter how hard one tries, if you are part of a long line of witches, there is no escaping your responsibilities and your abilities that come with that type of family legacy. Generations of New England witches in the Owens family have already enraptured readers with their winsome, witchy wiles for three books: PRACTICAL MAGIC, THE RULES OF MAGIC and MAGIC LESSONS. The stories will now come to rest on our bookshelves with this final tome.

"THE BOOK OF MAGIC holds all the beautiful discoveries and endings for these beloved characters that any fan of Hoffman’s could possibly desire."

THE BOOK OF MAGIC opens with an unexpected loss. A profusion of aggressive beetles sounds the sirens of sadness at the gate of the Owens’ centuries-old home, where three generations reside. The next stage of their lives will raise the secrets of both the dead and the living into the public arena, causing danger and fear to give way to understanding and new life.

For over 300 years, the Owenses have been cursed in matters of love many times over. With the quick and enlightening incidents at the beginning of the book, those bad times are about to end. The deathwatch beetle hints that one of the Owens aunts has only seven days to live, but the attempt to save a young man’s life causes the family to utilize their strange and unusually fierce powers to break the love curse.

As they traverse Europe, from the rush of the cities of Paris and London to the rural beauty of the English countryside, they learn about the start of their lineage and its powerful performances in the darker arts. This Unnamed Art helps all of them discover something rare and life-changing about their needs and their own powers. For once, most importantly, Sally realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love. This is a huge breakthrough considering that years ago her greatest love and happiness was taken from her most cruelly; since then, she has been harboring a wall of ire against romantic love in any shape or size.

THE BOOK OF MAGIC holds all the beautiful discoveries and endings for these beloved characters that any fan of Hoffman’s could possibly desire. For years, following the travails of the Owens family, readers have been hoping that love would reign supreme, and they will not be let down. But how the characters are illuminated to new ways of living in both the natural and the spirit world will surprise and delight everyone who gets caught between the covers of this compelling novel.

There is a great calm and feeling of warm, cozy fall nights that accompany all of Hoffman’s books, so this latest release is right on time. As the world slowly falls apart around us, perhaps we can take some comfort in this tale of family legacy and deep familial love and caring. The Owens’ shared history sets the book on a seesaw of action that will keep fans and newbies alike transfixed. The wonderful thing about this quartet of titles is that you can move among them and not worry that you will be lost without knowing the previous book’s plots. Read this one first, then go on to another. It will all work; Hoffman readies every reader with information from other tales to transport them safely into the confines of the Owens’ witchy lair, their beautiful but resonant hometown.

THE BOOK OF MAGIC is a fantastic fall treat. The pumpkins and dry leaves on the ground, the old houses, and the library so quiet but brimming with the truth behind long-held family secrets all work together with the bewitching personalities of the protagonists to create a story of women, family, love, and the pursuit of love despite great odds. Under Alice Hoffman’s masterful countenance, it gives us all a warm glow.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on October 15, 2021

The Book of Magic
by Alice Hoffman

  • Publication Date: October 18, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books
  • ISBN-10: 1982151498
  • ISBN-13: 9781982151492