Book Reviews

Book Review: The Rules of Magic

The rules of magic

Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give will be returned to you threefold. Fall in love whenever you can.

Know that the only remedy for love is to love more.

TITLE & AUTHOR: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

GENRE: Magical Realism/Fantasy/Romance

PUBLISHED : October 10th 2017, by Simon & Schuster



A Fantastic Prequel to Practical Magic

In 1620, Maria Owens was accused of witchcraft for falling in love. She managed to escape with her unborn child. That day she cast a spell upon herself – to never again fall in love. That spell becomes a curse for her descendants, and each time an Owens woman allows herself to fall in love – her loved one ends up dead.

Alice Hoffman writes beautiful novels, and I fell in love in magical realism through her work. Her writing is gorgeous and weaves straight through you – you’ll find yourself remembering quotes and the characters for a long time after you finish one of her books. The Rules of Magic is no exception – there wasn’t one dull or unimportant sentence.

“Do not drink milk after thunderstorm, for it will certainly be sour. Always leave out seed for the birds when the first snow falls. Wash your hair with rosemary. Drink lavender tea when you cannot sleep. Know that the only remedy for love is to love more.”

This is a story about the aunts from Practical Magic. Aunt Frances and aunt Bridget weren’t always dressed in black and wary of love. Before that, they were Franny and Jet, two young sisters, discovering the magical powers around them and inside them, together with their brother Vincent. But no Owens can escape Maria’s curse, so during this novel Alice Hoffman reveals what is it that happened to Franny and Jet that made them into the old spinsters in Practical Magic.

The Rules of Magic chronicles their lives from when they were children and up to their old age. We follow them from their childhood, when they start discovering their powers and begin noticing that weird things happen to them and around them – they can’t dive in water because they always float to the surface; animals, especially birds, are drawn to them and seem to understand them; silver tarnishes when they are around; they are able to hear people’s thoughts. On Franny’s 18th birthday, they are exclusively invited to Massachusetts, to their aunt Isabelle’s home, where they discover the secret their parents kept from them – they are all witches. They also find out the basic rules they have to follow when dealing with magic and that the ancient Owens curse is very much real.

“For what you can fix, there are hundred remedies. For what cannot be cured, not even words will do.”

During their teen years they start getting reckless with their magic – they use it for personal gain, as parlor tricks, out of selfishness or revenge. They allow themselves to fall in love. Soon enough the consequences get back to them in most terrible ways. As they get older and wiser, they learn to embrace their magic and how to live in harmony with it. This novel is basically a chronicle of their extraordinary lives, with a few tragedies, more magic, and even more love happening along the way.

“If there be a cure, seek till you find it. If there be none, never mind it.”

In the end, we get a nice connection to Practical Magic, and aunts Jet and Frances as we always knew them – warmhearted and tipsy old crones dressed in black. If you haven’t read Practical Magic you can read this one as a standalone definitely, as it is a story on its own.

“But rules were never the point. It was finding out who you were.”

Have you read The Rules of Magic, and what did you think? If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest it wholeheartedly to everyone who needs a bit of magic in their lives.


4 stars


18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rules of Magic

  1. I am so happy I found your blog because I love magical realism as well! My favorite novels are the Weetzie Bat series and Ava Lavander! I loooove the movie Practical Magic to death and I don’t understand why I have never read the novels! Loove your review and your blog is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ❀ I've been meaning to read Ava Lavender for a while, but I'll read the author's newest book The Price Guide to the Occult first, because I got an arc. I added the Weetzie Bat to my tbr, thanks for the rec! I adore the movie too, but some things are quite different in the book, not in a bad way, just very different. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh and Weetzie Bat you will read in a day the books are like 100 pages! You will thank me! The books saved me! They are so poetic, beautiful, and the book is so readable! Not difficult to get through it all. But you will find yourself rereading so many lines and just loving every minute of it!

        Liked by 1 person

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