Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic – by Alice Hoffman – independent book review – Historical Fiction (U.S.)

This is one historical novel in a four book series by the brilliant author Alice Hoffman and, of course, I started by researching the recommended order for reading the series.

Here’s a quote from Alice Hoffman, posted on her Website:
Practical Magic Series
“I’m often asked about the order in which you should read the books in the Practical Magic series. It’s your choice! You can read them in the order they were written (Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, The Book of Magic) or you can read them in chronological order (Magic Lessons, The Rules of Magic, Practical Magic, The Book of Magic). It’s up to you!”

As a left brained person (I prefer things linearly), I opted for chronological order. So, in my head, this is the first book in the series and I will now go on to read the rest. Because this one, I just LOVED! Awarded five stars on Goodreads.

On the island of Curaçao, Maria grows up under the loving care of Hannah Owens — not her birth mother, but a single woman known locally for her successful herbal-based cures for all sorts of ailments, affecting both body and mind. Immediately, Hannah recognizes in Maria a kindred spirit , someone who possesses her own unique gifts–both for healing and for seeing the future.

Unfortunately, it’s the 1600s and independent women, living alone, who speak their minds and offer cures are feared by many (mostly men), and all too often wind up accused of witchcraft.

Alice Hoffman
Photo from her website

And there’s the set-up for MAGIC LESSONS, a story that travels from Curaçao to Boston, Salem, and New York City, incorporating the witch trials of this era. Passion, betrayal, revenge, and love all play a role as Hoffman explores the lives of women during this period of American history. And ponders questions that are forever part of the human story: what is love, what happens to those who do evil, is revenge ever satisfying, and just how SHOULD people apply their special gifts?

MAGIC LESSONS is also a page turner, beautifully written, unpredictable to the end, and a sheer delight to read! Now, onto RULES OF MAGIC!

More about the author, Alice Hoffman.

You may be interested in my reviews of other books by Alice Hoffman. She’s a favorite!

From the Practical Magic Series:

The Rules of Magic

Practical Magic

The Book of Magic

Other Books by Hoffman:

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Dovekeepers

The World That We Knew

The Marriage of Opposites


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