They sat in the garden where Maria Owens had planted seeds so long ago. Life was short, it was over in an instant, but some things lasted. Hate and love, kindness and cruelty, all lingered and, in their case all had been passed on.
First, a funny thing happened while I was reading The Rules of Magic. I have this thing where birds love to visit me, I can’t say how many times I’ve had them fly into my house (even when I lived in Japan and England), nor the time I was nervous before surgery and a hawk swooped down and caught a snake. I took this to mean I’d be fine, coincidentally it was the only surgery I ever woke up from and I wasn’t violently sick. Franny has Lewis the crow, I had Edgar. He visited me the day I began this novel, kept coming all day long for weeks begging for food, and reading about Franny’s familiar I teased my family and said “Edgar must be mine.” I bombarded friends on Facebook with videos of my feathered pal. I was smitten, the synchronicity wasn’t lost on me and made the book so much more fun. Enough about my love affair with Edgar… but pictures follow!
Susanna Owens rules won’t save her three children (Vincent, Franny and Jet) from magic, nor the family curse. There is more to Ancestor Maria’s story, and through the forbidden love between Jet and Levi more is revealed about the Owens family and what makes them special and why they are doomed. Of all the tragedy and love within, my favorite moments were between Jet and the Reverend, which I will do well to keep my mouth shut about and let you, dear reader, enjoy for yourselves. Franny is a mess, as is Vincent- confused and lost, love leads to disaster and tragic ends. Any man who loves an Owens will meet his death. Can the curse be broken? What about Vincent? How does the curse affect a male born Owens?
April, the cousin, brings out the wild in the Owens siblings and Franny can’t warm to her, even with her cousin’s curiosity about the family’s deep dark secrets. Franny resents that her brother and sister fawn all over her cousin, she refuses to be charmed. April knows that their lives are tied, even if Franny refuses to see it. For fans of Practical Magic, you will be welcomed back into the fold of the bewitching family. I didn’t want the story to end, but I adore that within the seeds of tragedy, hope and beauty are birthed. I love the turns Vincent’s story takes. Yes, there is magic but even with their gifts, the difficulty of love and family cannot be avoided. Is it really the curse that takes the lives of their loved ones? If so, aren’t we cursed, all of us who dare to love?
Franny wants her heart to be hard and cold as stone, she cannot love anyone. Love isn’t possible and she knows it. Her relationship with Haylin is beautiful and safe, were she to chance anything more, Hay would not survive. There will be a remedy for her love in the end. Love will slip in the hardest of hearts, and love isn’t always romantic. The time period is perfect for witchery in the 60’s, rife with political and cultural change and turmoil. Misfits and outcasts were finding a platform, and Vincent’s talents fit in perfectly. Vincent, however, feels the darker side of magic pulling him away. Will he have to cut ties with his family to have a love of his own? I was particularly happy that Alice Hoffman conjured a male family member in the Owens clan. Fans of Practical Magic get more fulfillment through April, more story into the aunts pasts and will delight in everything that led to Sally and Gillian’s existence. I read this book twice, and I wish I could read both Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic for the first time again. For fans, you won’t be disappointed and for all others, if Magical Realism tickles your fancy, I highly recommend Hoffman’s latest, and her other books as well. The only downside is now I have to wait until her next novel is released… sigh.
As an aside… the cover is absolutely beautiful.
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Simon and Schuster