Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

January 29th, 2021 Kimberly Review 8 Comments

29th Jan
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Magic Lessons
by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #0.1
Narrator: Sutton Foster
Length: 13 hours and 26 minutes
Genres: Magical Realism
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

fantasy historical magical Magical Realism

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.

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman transports the listener back in time to meet Marie Owens and learn how the curse that haunts the Owens' women came to be. Click To Tweet

About Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman

Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day,” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Weist. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel AQUAMARINE was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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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

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8 Responses to “Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman”

  1. Carla

    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.

  2. Joyousreads

    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.

    Lovely review!

  3. 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.