Review- Rules of Magic


Goodreads Summary- 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.


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The Setting- Rules of Magic is set in Manhattan, Massachusetts, California, and Paris. It was such a thrill to be able to explore all these places through the eyes of Alice Hoffman’s characters.

The Writing- If you have ever read an Alice Hoffman novel than you know what a fantastic writer she is. Rules of Magic is definitely no exception! She is a master at imagery and writing gorgeous prose.

The Characters- I adore the siblings! Franny, Jet, and Vincent are all unique and I had a personal connection to each of them.  I even enjoyed getting to know the side characters, especially their cousin April. These are characters that I know I am going to miss and will want to revisit in the future. It was such a joy getting to know more about the history of the Owens family.

The Magic- I have been having such good luck with magical realism lately, which is not normally a genre that I enjoy. The magic felt believable and was in no way forced. I have read many books that include magic, and this novel stands out from the rest.

History- I really enjoyed that there was a sense of history throughout the novel.  The book is set during the 1960’s and musical festivals, riots, and the Vietnam War are all part of the story.

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The Timeline– The first half of the book occurs when they are teenagers and then the last half just seems to skip over so many years.  All of a sudden it is twenty years later, and then suddenly the sisters are now elderly and walking with canes.  I found myself confused about the timeline at some points and I just wished that it was made more clear.

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“She had lost some of who she was when she lost her beloved.”

“The most glorious hour in Manhattan was when twilight fell in sheets across the Great Lawn. Bands of blue turned darker by the moment as the last of the pale light filtered through the boughs of cherry trees and black locusts. In October, the meadows turned gold; the vines were twists of yellow and red.”

“This is what happens when you repudiate who you are. Once you do that, life works against you, and your fate is no longer your own.”


If you loved Practical Magic than you NEED to read this book! It only adds to the story, and makes me appreciate Practical Magic even more. If you have never read or watched Practical Magic, it is my belief that you will still adore Rules of Magic. If you have read and enjoyed Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, I also think you will love this book.  There is a very similar feel to both books, but each are special and wonderful in their own right.


23 thoughts on “Review- Rules of Magic

  1. I thought this was a great book 🙂 but I totally agree with you that the second part just sort of glosses over everything. Especially skips their later years in life. I also felt that maybe it’s a bit unfair that the sisters get the bad fate and the brother, being the only man, escapes it. Kind of unfair, but I guess life’s never fair either.

      1. The fact that the book focuses on the aunts is definitely something that makes me excited to read it. Though I’d also be cool with a sequel to Practical Magic following Sally’s daughters.

  2. I read Practical Magic so long ago that I barely remember the details. How much do you think that matters in terms of enjoying this book? I’m wondering if I should re-read Practical Magic first. Great review! You definitely make me want to read this!

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