Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Read by:  Marin Ireland
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 10 hours and 58 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster.  Thank-you!

I love Alice Hoffman’s magical realism and have been a fan of her fiction since the 1990’s. The Rules of Magic is a prequel to one of my favorite Hoffman novels, Practical Magic.  In Practical Magic, Gillian and Sally Owens are raised by their Aunts Frances and Jet Owens. 

The Owens family are different from everyone else.  They are descended from one 17th century woman, Maria Owens, who was thwarted in love and has cursed her family to never find love.  As the years pass by, the Owens name passes from woman to woman, but each woman may find a one true love, but their love always disappears or dies in a terrible way.  The family also happens to be witches and passes down their apt for magic through the line. 

Into this family is born a trio of siblings, Frances, Bridget (Jet), and Vincent.  The three grow up in New York City with their mother and father and are raised away from magic.  As they reach their teenage years they start to wonder why they are so different than everyone else and start to explore their magic.  They visit their Aunt Isabelle in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens originate.  

This novel is probably classified as magical realism, but I feel it should also be classified as historical fiction as our main characters live through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.  I loved reading about the history as much as I did the story of the Owens.  I thought the story tied up perfectly with the start of Practical Magic.  Although this novel does stand on its own and you do not need to read Practical Magic before you read this.

For Frances, Jet, and Vincent, this novel is a coming of age story as each three comes into their own. It is a very interesting coming of age story as their mother has so many rules to keep them away from magic such as no walking in moonlight and no falling in love.  She is trying to protect them, but like all teenagers, the forbidden becomes intriguing.  It is also a tragic love story for each member of the family.  I was intrigued by the entire story and loved how each character was developed.  I also loved how the story ended perfectly with young Gillian and Sally coming to stay with their Aunts.  I really need to read Practical Magic again!

Marin Ireland was a wonderful narrator.  Ireland’s narration combined with the great characters and wonderful story made this a joy to listen to.  This is a perfect book for the fall and Halloween season.

Overall, The Rules of Magic is a wonderful, magical, compelling story with captivating characters.  My only regret was that this audiobook ended.  Alice Hoffman’s writing is spellbinding.


  1. Very nice review, but I'm not really into magical books, in general.

  2. I am the opposite- I have a great love for magical books!