Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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.

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Simon & Schuster 
Series: Practical Magic 0
Genre: Fiction/Magical Realism

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

Alice Hoffman is not a new author to me however I didn't have the opportunity read her much loved Practical Magic before reading The Rules of Magic. As it is the prequel to Practical Magic it did not affect my understanding or enjoyment one bit.

There is something about Hoffman's writing that sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages. I think that it is her ability to create unique and interesting characters who's stories you want to know. In this case it is three very different teenage siblings who also come from a long line of witches. Don't worry though, this book is not full of sorcery and majorly unrealistic scenarios but rather it is full of magical realism and a hint of the unknown. In fact, it is magical realism at its best. I am extremely picky when it comes to plots that can't happen in real life but I am a fan of this genre if it is done right. Alice Hoffman knows how to do it right.

This book at the heart was about family and the struggles of the three Owens siblings as they grew up in less than usual circumstances. All three had certain abilities because of their heritage but they also had rules that they needed to follow in order to fit in and to have a successful life. One of the big rules was not to fall in love. Bad things were said to happen to the person they fell in love with and it was a curse that dated back to 1620 and their ancestor Maria Owens. Of course it was easier said than done and this story followed the three siblings as they naturally fell or tried not to fall into relationships. As the reader, I was routing for all of them. I wanted them to find love and break the curse and live their happily ever afters but of course nothing is never that simple.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Franny, Jet and Vincent you get the story of each sibling starting in their teenage years and spanning into their late adult life. Each character had unique struggles and a story that was all their own and each one was equally interesting. I found myself caring about the outcome of each one of them. I must admit that it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns and although over all I was satisfied in the end, I wasn't necessarily completely happy with how each of their lives turned out. However, it was their struggles that made them who they were and that I can appreciate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and now I must read Practical Magic so that I can continue my book relationship with the Owens family. Alice Hoffman has yet to disappoint!

About the Author
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 Weist. 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.

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