Book Review

Magic Lessons – Alice Hoffman

Book Title: Magic Lessons

Series: Practical Magic #0.5

Author:  Alice Hoffman

Goodreads Link: Click here

Release Date:  10/6/20

Star Rating:

 Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love this book. Like … my favorite out of the three books in the series LOVE. Like … I’ve already read it twice this year LOVE. I love the clever magical recipes featured in the book. I love the storyline. I love the characters. I just adore it.

In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
– Goodreads

Alice Hoffman has been a new-ish find for me, and I devour her books now as quickly as I can get them in my hands. Her writing voice reminds me a little of Isabel Allende, who excels at creating a mystique, an aura of magic and mystery in her books. Her choice of third person omniscient point o view makes the reader feel like you are reading a genealogy or history of real people. It is easy to become completely attached to the characters. This is a real skill as an author. I recently read another book of her short stories, The Red Garden, and I felt grieved to move on from one story to another when I’d already made such a strong connection to the people in the story I was reading. This book feels the same way.

This is a book about love. “Is this love?” is a question that the Maria asks of herself over and over in the book. The truth is, yes, it’s all love. The love that props you up and gives you a home. The love for and from a child. The twisted/obsessive kind of love that can tear you down. The many kinds of love that drive women to Maria’s back door in the deep of night asking for charms to smooth their way. You experience all these different kinds of love, while the book reminds you that the love you put out into the world comes back to you in the end.

“This is how you begin in the world. These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.”

I enjoyed this book very much, even more than the other two books in the series. I re-read all three this month because it is finally turning into fall, and Halloween is coming. If you’re looking for a witchy read then I can’t recommend this book more.

Song for this book: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac (I mean it has to be Stevie Nick’s right?)

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