The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

December 14th, 2017 Kimberly Review 32 Comments

14th Dec
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Rules of Magic
by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #2
Narrator: Marin Ireland
Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes
Genres: Magical Realism
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

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.

Magical Realism Audiobook Family

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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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

32 Responses to “The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman”

  1. lisa thomson

    Oh, this sounds delightful, Kim. I have read many of Hoffman’s books but oddly, not Practical Magic. I did enjoy the movie though. So, I’m wondering if this book is better with the narration, The sample is very tempting. Thanks for the review, Kim!

  2. Suzanne

    I absolutely loved this book so I’m thrilled to see you loved it too. I was so thrilled to finally get the aunts’ story since that’s what I wanted more of when I read Practical Magic. I also agree with you that the movie ruined the first book.

  3. Wattle

    I’m glad you liked this one 🙂 Practical Magic was such a disappointment for me, the movie is by far superior! I might have to read this one, great review Kim 🙂

  4. RO

    I didn’t read the book Practical magic, but I did enjoy the movie. This prequel sounds very interesting and ready for my shelf. Hugs…RO

  5. Trish @ Between My Lines

    Practical Magic is one of my favourite movies, so I’ve always been afraid to read the book as I don’t want to feel like you did. I’m so happy that this one worked out better for you though Kim. I need to rewatch the film and then read this prequel!

  6. Lorna

    It’s okay. Just thought it might be something you need to know. I waited overnight so I had refreshed so I don’t know. Thanks!

  7. Lorna

    I left a comment last night and even though I saw it post for a few seconds, then it disappeared. I waited cause I didn’t want it to post twice. So anyway… I can’t remember exactly remember what I said. I was the one that liked the book Practical Magic more than the movie and I know you were just the opposite. This one does sound like a good one as well. Glad you enjoyed it. I’ll probably get to this someday

    • Lorna

      And it just now posted twice. I also commented on another one as well and that didn’t post either.

      • Kimberly

        Sorry, you’re having issues. I did see comments from you on my last few posts. Usually, you have to refresh the screen to see your comments.

  8. Lorna

    You might remember I was the one that loved Practical Magic the book and liked but didn’t love the movie. You have me wondering about this one. I thought it would be longer with sixty years to get through. Eleven hours is pretty doable for a listen. Thanks for the recommendation!

  9. Tyler H. Jolley

    I’m glad you found the magic you were looking for. Happy reading/listening. 🙂

  10. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I just read my first Alice Hoffman book – Faithful -and Practical Magic is up pretty high on my list. I haven’t seen the movie so hopefully I won’t be disappointed with it but I’m glad to know that this one is wonderful. I’ll have to add this to my audio wishlist.

  11. Barbara Strickland

    This is one of those difficult times. I loved the movie (Practical Magic) but struggled a little with the book despite the beautiful use of language. Reading this review however I realised the audio makes a difference. Hearing the words works in the author’s style. I haven’t had much to do with audio but am beginning to appreciate more and more.

  12. Nina

    I haven’t read Practical Magic, but I did watched the movie..several times. I really love the movie. I do like the sound of the books, especially the second one. I just need to find time.

  13. Debbie Haupt

    I can probably count on one hand where I liked a movie as well as the read. Glad you found your magic Kim. This is something I would like too!

  14. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I enjoyed this book, too, although I was less fond of the early part of the story, when the characters were children. I don’t know why…but as they grew, I started going with the flow and really relishing how their adulthood brought secrets to light…and answered some questions.

    Great review!

  15. kindlemom1

    I have yet to read these, I think because I watched the movie before I realized it was a book years ago and now I can’t bring myself to read them but I’m so glad you enjoyed this.

  16. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m happy to hear that you really loved this one. I know the movie Practical Magic but never read the book but that’s awesome this gives the aunt’s story.


  17. Jo

    I hate it when the movies ruin the books. I must say the synopsis for this book sounds interesting, even though I haven’t watched or read Practical Magic. Need to give these series a try, I love a bit of realistic magic!

  18. Vanessa

    I love everything magic, and my! This one sounds like perfect for me. I’m sorry TBR, I’m adding another book in the list hihi