by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #0.1
Narrator: Sutton Foster
Length: 13 hours and 26 minutes
Genres: Magical Realism
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
From New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman comes the origin story of her beloved novel and basis for the cult classic film Practical Magic—taking us on a captivating journey to the Salem witch trials, featuring the indomitable matriarch of the Owens family, Maria.
It’s no secret that love has plagued the Owens family for centuries. But when did the curse begin, and why? It all began with Maria Owens, who arrived in America in 1680, with a baby in tow…
Born with pitch-black hair and pale green eyes, Maria was abandoned in the English countryside by her birth mother and raised by Hannah Owens who warned her, “Always love someone who will love you back.” She inherits Hannah’s Grimoire—a magical book of enchantments that include instructions to heal illnesses, ingredients for soaps that restore youth, and spells that make a person burn with love for another. When Hannah dies in an attack, Maria leaves for Curacao, where she meets John Hathorne, a magistrate from Salem living freely for the first time in his life as he falls in love with Maria. But Hathorne soon abandons her, before Maria realizes she’s pregnant. When she gives birth to a red-headed baby girl, Faith, who possesses immense magical talent, Maria embarks on a voyage to Salem to face her destiny, with or without magic.
But aboard the ship bringing her to America, fate intervenes and she meets a man who will change her life, if she’ll only let him. Her journey, laced with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, magic and curses, will show her that love is the only answer, always.
Magic Lessons transports the listener back in time to meet Marie Owens and learn how the curse that haunts the Owens’ women came to be. From the English countryside to the shores of Curacao, to Massachusetts, we learn of Maria’s fate.
I loved Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and the subsequent novels regarding the sisters, so it was interesting to go back to the beginning.
Her mother abandoned Marie in a field before Hannah Owens discovered and raised her. After Hannah meets a terrible fate, Marie receives her Grimoire—a magical book of enchantments that include instructions to heal illnesses, ingredients for soaps that restore youth, and spells that make a person burn with love for another.
Marie eventually makes it to the shores of Curacao, where she is an indentured servant. Marie vows to never fall in love, but as fate would have it, an Englishman catches her fancy. When she finds herself with child, she leaves the shore of Curacao and heads to his hometown near Salem, Massachusetts.
Witchcraft, broken hearts, magic, mischief and a riveting tale that held me spellbound await you. Hoffman can spin a tale and I loved all the historical details, from the streets of New York to the spells that were woven. Familiars, allies, tricksters and weak men and kind men added to the tale.
Sutton Foster narrates and brought the characters and text to life. She delivered unique voices and atmospheric tones. Her narration enhanced this well-written tale. Hoffman’s book work wonderfully on audio and this was no exception.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Tyler H. Jolley
The scenery sounds awesome. I love historical NYC. Great review, Kimba!
I have only read one of the Practical Magic books, but this one sounds promising as it goes back to the start. Great review Kimberly. It does seem rather long for a 0.1 book, which would seem like a novella to me.
Neat how it went back to the beginning and told the mother’s story. I still need to read Alice Hoffman.
Anne - Books of My Heart
I’m sort of interested in this one. But I find it weird a #0.1 which I think of a novella, is 13+ hours long.
I loved Practical Magic as well – the movie, not the book. I haven’t read it yet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve read any Alice Hoffman’s novels in the past either. Must change that.
Debbie S Haupt
It looks interesting Kim I do love magic realism
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
Great review! I loved Magic Lessons too. It was so interesting to be taken back to see where the Owens curse originated and to meet Maria. I read the ebook back when it first came out but would to revisit it at some point on audio.
Lovely to hear that you’ve enjoyed the book. The voice of the narrator is so important for an audiobook. I stopped listening to a book recently because the voice was too bland and I couldn’t focus on the story.