The Rulese of Magic

The Rules of Magic

by Alice Hoffman

Overview: 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.

Carole Zwicker (02/06/19): This book is a prequel to Practical Magic. Since the 1600s, the Owens family has been feared and mistrusted. In Massachusetts, one of the ancestors was charged with loving the wrong man. In the 1950s, Susanna Owens, a descendant, moves to New York to raise her three children away from the Owens' reputation and away from the curse forbidding them from falling in love. It becomes obvious that Franny, Jet and Vincent cannot deny their heritage. From the beginning, the children exhibit signs of eccentricity and witchcraft. And as they grow older, they try everything to prevent falling in love. But it is not meant to be. The novel deals with each sibling avoiding love as much as possible until their heart leads them to do the opposite. The Rules of Magic is surreal and yet so real in many ways. It is a fairy tale for adults and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Well written and captivating.
Rating: ****

Faith Bowers (11/25/17): Ms Hoffman must have had a wonderful time writing this fairy tale. Most of her writing has a touch of magic or mystical and this book is all about witches and the sight and family histories of witches dating back to the 1600s witch hunts. The most interesting parts were those that took place in NYC in the 1950s and 60s. She keeps to her story but shares the beauty of Central Park and the grittiness of the Village. The character development is minimal mostly because the characters repeat themselves each generation. There are many loves stories as well as many tragic deaths. The time that is most sad for me is how Ms. Hoffman has her characters deal with the VietNam War and their aftermath. This is not her best book but is a very enjoyable read.
Rating: ***

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