The Book of Magic – by Alice Hoffman – independent book review – Fiction

NOTE: I was given early access to this manuscript through in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you Simon Schuster. Scheduled Publication: October 5, 2021.

THE BOOK OF MAGIC is the fourth and final novel in Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series, providing a completely satisfying conclusion to what has been a delightful literary ride. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.

Hoffman, a favorite author of mine, uses this series to explore the historical links between fears and accusations of witchcraft and women who have behaved in ways that violate the norms of a male dominated society, OR have lived independently, OR have possessed knowledge about using herbs to relieve suffering. It turns out unattached women (or any vulnerable population, really), especially those who can read and write when most can’t, are an easy target for blame anytime people want an explanation for something they don’t understand.

Hoffman’s entire series centers on a family curse that is hundreds of years old as well as on the strong ties that connect women, especially those related by blood (sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts). While all four novels have been beautifully written, original, intelligent, and full of wonderful and distinctive characters — THE BOOK OF MAGIC is my favorite.

This final novel felt the most plot-driven to me, building steadily toward a very suspenseful conclusion. It continues the story of Franny and her sister Jet, their nieces Gillian and Sally, and Sally’s daughters, Antonia and Kylie (now young adults).

Alice Hoffman

Without wanting to spoil your own ride of discovery, I’ll just say that, once again, there are plenty of surprises and page-turning drama. A college student lying in a coma, his devoted girlfriend willing to give her life to heal him, a long lost brother, and assorted female members of the Owens family — continuing their love/hate relationship with their special gifts: some eager to employ them, others in total denial. And nearly all of them facing decisions about falling in love.

I’m genuinely sorry to see the end of this series. But fortunately, there are other Alice Hoffman books I’ve yet to read.

According to the author, she recommends you read the books EITHER in the order in which they were written OR in chronological order:

Order They Were Written:
Practical Magic (2003)
The Rules of Magic (2017)
Magic Lessons (2020)
The Book of Magic (2021)

Chronological Order:
Magic Lessons
The Rules of Magic
Practical Magic
The Book of Magic

Whichever you choose, enjoy then all!

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

The Rules of Magic

Practical Magic

Other books:

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Dovekeepers

The World That We Knew

The Marriage of Opposites


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