Paperback Perils: The Rules of Magic


Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman 
Publication Date: 2017
Publishing House: Simon & Schuster

This is apparently the second book in the Practical Magic series but it reads well as a stand alone novel. I originally heard about this book through Book of the Month, but I didn’t select it because there were others to be read. However, it kept popping up when I was at a book store and I decided to buy it. I’m glad I did.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

This is the perfect book for October! Witches, curses, familiars, all bundled up for Halloween. This book covers from the early teenage years until grandmotherly age of three members of the Owens family, siblings: Franny, Jet, and Vincent. Their lives are filled with love, wonder, magic, and so much loss.

This book is written in an oddly passive voice but it works for the story as a whole, as if someone is giving the reader a glance into the lives of these three siblings. Something that I really appreciated about this book is how specific rules apply to witches: they float on water and can’t be drowned, they have familiars, they have a sight that allows them to know things about people, and they are mysterious. The last one though is only true because people fear them and thus they are mysterious and seemingly unfriendly because others fear to approach them.

This story is also about love and about loss and family. They must learn to love and learn how to survive when their lives seem to fall apart. I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about magic, about love, and about witches. Happy reading!

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