By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA (Netgalley)
We first met the Owens in the glorious novel Practical Magic. We discovered the tragedy of the Owens siblings in The Rules of Magic. Now we learn how it all began … with a baby abandoned in a snowy English field in the 1600s. Under the care of gentle Hannah Owens, little Maria learns about the ‘Unnamed Arts’. Maria has a gift for them – a gift that may well prove her undoing.
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
I enjoyed Practical Magic (review), which I was first introduced to by the movie. I haven’t read the sequel as I tend to be wary of sequels of beloved books written years after the fact. But I was curious about this prequel so in my forays in NetGalley I requested and was approved an eARC of the book. This book will be released on 06 October 2020.
We follow Maria from the time she was found in a snowy field as a baby right through to adulthood and all of the trials, all the highs and lows, the joys of love and motherhood to the pains of loss and betrayal. Of course it’s quite the butt clencher when you realise Maria finds herself at Salem at the time of the witch hunt but she’s young and she’s determined to search for [spoilers]. Actually the entire novel was quite harrowing because she lived at a time when there was a lot of suspicion about anything supernatural–and Maria is a very talented witch–but she does come across a lot of good people too, people who help her.
This book is a delight with Alice Hoffman’s storytelling: her narration just brings you into the story and takes you on a ride. I grew to care for many of the characters in the novel (save for a few who clearly make some awful life choices and setting a whole wheel in motion), feared for their safety. You long for a happy ending but are aware it might not be possible, the stakes are so high, curses might be too strong to withstand. The lessons are there along the way, tied to the characters’ respective journeys and decisions.
I don’t want to say much more in this review because reading this book was quite an experience. If you enjoyed Practical Magic or any of her previous books, you will enjoy this one.