The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (first published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster)
This is the beautiful prequel to Hoffman’s book Practical Magic which was also adapted to screen in 1998 and starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.
I’ve never read the book Practical Magic, but I loved the movie, its magicalness and the tale of how the Owens sisters were doomed to lose their love. So when I was given the chance to read the prequel to the original book, I jumped at the opportunity – I love all things witchy and touched by magic.
You could blame my love for Harry Potter, or the fact that I’m a ‘90s kid when witches were popular in TV and movies and books.
Nevertheless, it’s something I’ve always loved and I knew I would love this book from the moment I read the first page.
Now, for the Owens family, love is a curse. A curse that began in 1620 when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, we meet Susanna Owens and her children Franny, Jet and Vincent. Susanna knows her children are unique and dangerously so. So she sets down rules for them: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic.
But, most importantly, never fall in love.
Eventually Franny gets an invitation to spend the summer with their Aunt Isabelle and her siblings tag along. There they begin to learn the family secrets and why no one in the small Massachusetts town where Aunt Isabelle lives trusts an Owens.
All three siblings find their own stories and while Franny and Jet will go on to be the revered aunts in Practical Magic, and Vincent will leave his own legacy, this story is about how love is uncontrollable and all encompassing and turns up in the most unexpected places.
What I loved most about the book is that I got pulled into this world so quickly and so completely. Hoffman’s writing is captivating and you’ll get lost in the world of the Owens family.
There’s no need to read Practical Magic before this one. The stories, while linked to each other in lots of ways, are not necessarily dependant on each other to make sense. But you, like me, will probably find yourself itching to get a copy of Practical Magic after you finish this book.
There are a few heartbreaks in these pages which can be expected when there’s a family curse, but you’ll still feel compelled to keep reading. And to find out what more can happen to these young ones and whether or not they will ever manage to find love despite the curse.
This is a delightful novel filled with lots of witch lore, unexpected surprises and satisfying endings.
If you love anything witchy, or were a fan of the original novel, then definitely read this.
Purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za.
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