by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #2
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Marin Ireland
Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes
Genres: Magical Realism
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Narration Rating: 4.5
From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.
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. 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.
After my disappointment with Practical Magic (yes the movie ruined the book for me) I was a little nervous going into The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, but here I found the magic I was hoping for. Narrated by Marin Ireland, I fell in love with the Owens family.
We get the Aunt’s story! Whether you read the book Practical Magic or watched the movie, you will remember that Sally and Gillian were raised by their Aunts after their parent’s death. The Rules of Magic shares the story of Frances (Franny) and Bridget (Jet), as well as their brother, Vincent. This tale begins some sixty years ago and shares their youth, loses, and adulthood right up until Sally and Gillian arrive. It was beautifully written, with fleshed out characters, curses, townsfolk and the people who traveled in and out of their lives.
The Owens children were strictly told by their mother Susanna: 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. A trip to Massachusetts and their Aunt Isabelle soon have them uncovering family secrets and learning about the dreadful family curse.
Magic, family and sidestepping the rules brought these characters to life. Hoffman made me believe in the curse and the magic. I love that she filled in the blanks all while delivering an equally compelling story that stands on its own. These characters became more than just Gillian and Sally’s aunts.
Family secrets and curses drive the plot, and it was interesting how even within the family some were protected from the secret, and how only knowing half-truths caused issues and pain. Of course, being children, the Owens siblings defied a lot of their momma’s rules. Franny the oldest can communicate with birds and did so even when her mother strictly forbade her too. Jet the middle child at first glance appears to the rule follower of the group, so when she does break them, it’s enormous and has a ripple effect that impacts them all. Vincent is the baby, and the girls love and dote on him. He is charismatic and often seemed aloof, but Hoffman exposed just how genuinely he feels.
While wowing us with magical realism, she shares a glimpse into the political climate, LGBT, superstitions, small-town politics and embracing your differences. Hoffman has a firm grasp of what it must have been like for the Owens children growing up as outcasts even in their own home. I wept for Vincent, adored Franny and her red boots and loved Jet’s passion.
Secondary characters played a significant role in the Owens lives and were fleshed out enough to make their impact feel valid.
Marin Ireland narrated this enchanting tale and did so flawlessly. I enjoyed her natural pace, voices, and ability to enhance the magic Hoffman delivered.
Alice Hoffman pulls the reader in from her beautiful writing to the characters, and I found my time with the Owens well spent. I would love to see The Rules of Magic made into a film. Now I am off to watch Practical Magic again.The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman was delightful from family secrets, curses, and magic. #audiobook Click To Tweet
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