Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Release Date: October 10, 2017
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.
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a prequel to Practical Magic, but I loved it.
The pacing was good. The beginning was a little slow for me when Franny, Jet, and Vincent were children. But it became more exciting as they grew up.
I liked the way the curse followed them wherever they went. In their teenage ignorance, they didn’t think it would affect them but it did.
Throughout the whole book, I kept looking for hints to the characters in Practical Magic. I loved the way that the magic is passed through the generations of Owens women.
Though the story followed a similar format of Practical Magic, you can definitely read this as a standalone novel. I think I got more out of it since I was familiar with some of the characters in the town, as well as the aunts when they are old and mysterious witches, but the story could be read by itself. Since this is a prequel, I think you could read The Rules of Magic first and then follow the story chronologically.
I really enjoyed this novel, and I will look out for Alice Hoffman in the future.