Review: THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman

Reading time 4 mins

I am so excited to tell you about THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman. I watched Practical Magic years ago and loved the story. I only recently found out it was based on a book when I saw a review for it on Avalinah’s Books. It was then that I decided to request this book. Of course I want more of the Owen’s family. I want to know all their secrets and see if their origins give any hint to where they end up (in the movie, I have yet to read the book).

This story follows siblings Frannie, Jet (Bridgette), and Vincent as they come of age in the 1960s and into their own. The story starts with the Owen’s siblings visiting their aunt in Massachusetts. There they learn more about their unique gifts and why their mother, Susanna, had them follow what they thought were superstitions. It turns out that all of the Owens are gifted with Magic and it is in their aunt’s home that they learn the real reasons for the rules their mother imposed on them.

Susanna’s Rules for Her Children:

  • Harm none
  • Never fall in love
  • No walking in the moonlight
  • No red shoes
  • No wearing black
  • No cats
  • No crows
  • No candles
  • No books about magic

Some of the siblings go on to find out more about their own strengths, while others go on to break every rule. The first rule makes sense, but the rule about never falling in love is nearly impossible for all of them to follow. The Owen’s family has been cursed since 1620 when their ancestor Maria Owens swore off love after being scorned by the man she loved. Ever since then ever Owens that has fallen in love has lost that love to tragic circumstances.

The foundation for this book is the three siblings and indeed, the story follows them into old age as they deal with their fates and come to terms with their losses. Each of them comes to understand that they can’t hide from who they truly are, although some take much longer than others to realize this. Each sibling has a different temperament and natural magic ability, but they all end up practicing magic.

I enjoyed getting the know the whole family. There are a few key side characters that aid the siblings, and they were all worth knowing well. I admit to being anxious to see where the girls from Practical Magic came in and I was completely satisfied with their placement in this book.This story is mainly about the aunt in Practical Magic and it explains their parentage.

This story is told in 3rd person which left me feeling like a voyeuristic outsider, but I still really enjoyed this story. I think a story like this really needed to be told in that way lest we loose track trying to imagine their emotions as they deal with what life hands these siblings. Although this did make really connecting with the characters a bit difficult for me. I almost wish each character could have their own book because they are all so very interesting.

I also has a bit of an issue with this story. View Spoiler »

Their magic plays a part in this story but it isn’t used a crutch to move the story forward. The story’s pacing was beautiful. I loved that we covered so much time and that the story really focused on the most important parts of these character’s lives. I am so happy with the ending of this story because I know that the Owen’s story does continue with Sally and Gillian.

I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy a good story about family and magical realism. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

My Rating

Practical Magic series

Review: THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice HoffmanThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #0
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 10th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Historical, Occult & Supernatural
eARC provided by Simon & Schuster

AmazonAudibleBook Depository

From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.
Find your magic.
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.
The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

About Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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By | 2017-09-30T19:46:45+00:00 Saturday, September 30, 2017|4 stars, Fantasy, Magical Realism, reviews|4 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Evelina October 1, 2017 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Yay you are mentioning me ^_^ BTW, that’s now why I came – I just wanted to know your thoughts on this book 😀 I will be reviewing it next week too! I think next week.. Might be the one after that! I’m lost in time.
    I love it how the kids break basically every single rule in that list 😀
    Yeah, you are right, Vincent got off unfairly easy, not just going without any punishment for rule one, but also sort of escaping the curse! So basically, he gets rewarded for it?? When the girls get horribly punished? GRRRR.
    But I liked it how they tied Sally and Gillian into the whole picture 🙂
    Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m glad to see that so did you 🙂
    Check Out Evelina’s most recent post- State of the ARC #2My Profile

    • Karen Blue
      October 3, 2017 at 8:06 am - Reply

      Yes to everything you just said. I am glad I was able to make this review somewhat coherent. Lol! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my review Evelina!

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity October 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I didn’t know Practical Magic was based on a book either and this sounds so good. I definitely need to check this out, especially as you get to find out stuff before Practical Magic. It makes it interesting and I do love learning a bunch of history and seeing how the stuff which happened before Practical Magic then influences later storylines. It just sounds really cool and the cover is pretty.
    Check Out Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity’s most recent post- When It’s Real // A Fake Relationship Which Left Me Grinning By The EndMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      October 5, 2017 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      I love the cover of this book. I hope you get a chance to read this, I would love to read your review for this. Thanks for checking out my review!

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