The Rules of Magic – by Alice Hoffman – independent book review – Historical Fiction

If you read Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series in chronological order (as any left brained person like me WOULD), this is #2. And I loved every page. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.

At the start of THE RULES OF MAGIC, it’s the mid 20th century where descendants of seventeenth century Maria Owens and John Hathorne (from MAGIC LESSONS – book #1 in the series) are coming to terms with their familial history, uniqueness, and individual powers. Three siblings (Franny, Jet, and Vincent) are being raised in New York City by parents trying their best to provide a normal upbringing. But these are no ordinary teens.

When given the opportunity, they spend the summer at the centuries-old family homestead in Massachusetts, under the much more relaxed supervision of their Aunt Isabelle. She is much more comfortable with the family heritage. And more familiar with the family curse.

This novel follows the three siblings throughout their lives, incorporating the secondary story of their cousin, April, and weaving in a number of actual historical events (Moon landing, Stonewall Riots, Draft Lottery, Vietnam War, etc.). There’s plenty of action: love and love denied, betrayals and shunning neighbors, illegitimate children and sudden death, and lots of spells, potions and magic.

Author Alice Hoffman
Photo from her Website

It’s a truly fun read but also one that is unpredictable and suspenseful, about people you will come to care deeply about. And many authentically human life lessons about love, loyalty, and family. And then there’s this quote from the author’s Introduction to PRACTICAL MAGIC:

“This is a book about magic, but more importantly, it’s an ode to sisterhood and family, and to the power of love.”

I’m now on to PRACTICAL MAGIC (Book #3 in the series).

More about the author, Alice Hoffman, one of my favorites.

You may be interested in my reviews of other books by Alice Hoffman:

The Practical Magic Series:

Magic Lessons

Practical Magic

The Book of Magic

Other books:

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Dovekeepers

The World That We Knew

The Marriage of Opposites


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