The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
|The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A bewitching, hard to put down tale of the consequences of magic, love and family.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: November 2017|
|Publisher: Scribner UK|
|External links: Author's website|
I've read several of Alice Hoffman's novels, although strangely, not the one she's most famous for - Practical Magic, which went on to be made into a film. The Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to that book, and tells the story of three siblings of the Owens family; Franny, Jet and Vincent. The two sisters, Franny and Jet, go on to become the two aunts in the Practical Magic story.
At the start of the story, their mother Susanna, who has tried to make a safe life for them away from magic, sets down various rules to try to protect them. By far the worst of these is that they are never to fall in love, due to a curse put on them from their ancestors. Of course, trouble soon crops up when the three siblings start to realise they are different and experiment both with magic and with affairs of the heart.
Although I hadn't read the original Practical Magic, I found this didn't affect my enjoyment of this book. Although I think it would also be enjoyed in particular by anyone already being familiar with the story of the two aunts. I found the characters engaging and unusual, and the twists and turns of the plot kept me turning the pages, needing to know how the story would end.
Hoffman's books are generally tinged with elements of fantasy, fairy tale or magic, even when they aren't directly about it, and I found in this novel, there were some really lovely bits of information about witches and curses sprinkled in, so as not to overdo it, but to add to the magical element of the story. Either she had thoroughly researched ideas common to witches – such as their need to be buried barefoot, or the fact that a swarm of bees meant death was coming – or she had invented believable details.
Despite the magical element, even if you don't believe in witchcraft, the characters seem very real, and their actions are believable. As with other novels of Hoffman's, I find her ability to blend the mundane of the everyday into slightly surreal elements of magic cleverly done.
Overall, I would recommend this book as a perfect autumn/winter novel to curl up with.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman at Amazon.com.
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