Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
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.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
She was found on a January day in a field where the junipers grew, wound in a blue blanket with her name carefully stitched along the border with silk thread.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of Magic Lesson in exchange for an honest review.
Magic Lessons will be released on October 1st.
Alice Hoffman continues to be one of my top five favourite authors. She is one of those authors whose work I consistently connect with. I can pick up an Alice Hoffman novel and know that I am in for an enriched and powerful experience. That was certainly the case with Magic Lessons, which is a prequel to Practical Magic and Rules of Magic. I adore all three books, but I think that Magic Lessons stands out as something truly special, and while having the context of the other two books adds another layer to the story, this book certainly stands on its own.
With it now being autumn, I know that many of us are looking for books that are spooky, creepy, atmospheric, witchy, etc. Magic Lessons is the perfect October read and arguably my favourite witchy book of all time! The book is set in the 1600s and begins in England and takes us to Curaçao to Salem and finally to New York. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into each of these places during this time period. A few of the characters, such as John Hawthorne, are based on real people. I spent a great deal of time researching more about Hawthorne, but I will not say more about him as to not spoil the book!
Maria Owens is a fascinating character and I am so thrilled that Alice Hoffman chose to write her story. It was interesting to see her inner conflicts and how she viewed the world through the lens of a witch who is being hunted by men while being a comfort to women.
The story plays out over many years and there are numerous characters who I adore and those who I loathe, but even mentioning that they exist could be seen as a spoiler. Did I mention that there are familiars throughout the story, one of which is a crow named Cadin?
Alice Hoffman delivered another winner, and I would be delighted if she continued to write about every generation of Owens’ women.
- Characters: 9
- Atmosphere/Setting: 10
- Writing Style: 10
- Plot: 8
- Intrigue: 9
- Logic/Relationships: 9
- Enjoyment: 10
Overall CAWPILE score: 65/7=9.3
What is your favourite witchy book? Do you know of any non-fiction about the witch trials?