Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Title: Magic Lessons.
SeriesPractical Magic #0.1.
Writer(s)Alice Hoffman.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: October 6th, 2020.
Pages: 416.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance.
ISBN13:  9781982163624.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.


Some cry wolf when they’re facing the unexplainable, some rush to raise pitchforks against those that you assume to deal with Satan, some rally a community, preferring not to be alone in their battle, to bring death to those who are merely trying to find their own place in a cruel world. But even with magic at their disposition, witches aren’t only out to curse vulnerable humans in their plight towards freedom, happiness, and peace. They too are just as exposed as anyone else to another of life’s greatest mysteries: love. Serving as a prequel to both Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, writer Alice Hoffman presents fans with the opportunity to discover the origin story of their beloved characters and their pivotal history through terrifying times for women but, especially, for witches.

What is Magic Lessons about? Covering the years 1664 to 1696, the story follows the unforgettable legacy of the Owens family, starting with Hannah Owens who discovers a baby abandoned in a snowy field in rural England, the very child who will grow up to become the indomitable matriarch of the Owens family, Maria Owens. Spanned over multiple years, this story explores the intergenerational journey of this family through the Salem witch trials and extraordinary episodes of love and loss. Whether they encounter the beauty that life has to offer or the mayhem that comes with the life of a witch, it is through endurance and a sheer sense of determination to challenge faith that they demonstrate their most human facets, one where love might be the answer to everything.

“Fate is what you make of it. You can make the best of it, or you can let it make the best of you.”
— Alice Hoffman

Without having read any other book by writer Alice Hoffman, I can safely say that this prequel reads perfectly as a stand-alone novel and remains a brilliant entry point to the author’s masterful storytelling skills. The story doesn’t solely focus on one of the Owens but rather looks at each of them throughout different segments in the book while giving us a stellar and convincing evolution of their characters throughout the hardships they face and the adversity they overcome. Interestingly, writer Alice Hoffman doesn’t utilize much dialogue in this story and rather allows her unparalleled magic with words to deliver what is a genuine blend of historical fiction with romance rather than fantasy. It is how she brings to life the whimsical and enchanting universe of witches through lore craft that allows the characters to retain a witchy aura, not to mention the incredibly detailed descriptions of herbology, spells, curses, and witchcraft that is interspersed throughout the narrative that makes you wonder if the author isn’t one of them too.

While her writing justifies most of the novel’s success, it is astonishing to watch writer Alice Hoffman celebrate life and love throughout the Owens’s bloodline. The story does kick off a bit slow, drowning the reader in witchcraft and gently plunging them in an emotionally-weighted atmosphere, but it is further along, with the help of the omniscient narrative, that readers aren’t purely subjected to the trials of love as they discover the terror of curses born out of negative emotions, existing only to appease a desire for revenge and to attempt to correct a felt injustice. There’s simply no denying that writer Alice Hoffman intricately understands her witchy universe, the challenges that women and witches had to face during the 17th century, and the power of love to overcome any and all predicaments. Her storytelling will simply mesmerize you through and through.

Magic Lessons is a spell-binding origin story exploring the Owens family and their ordeal with love, obsession, and faith.

Thank you to SiMon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy for review!



38 thoughts on “Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

  1. “that makes you wonder if the author isn’t one of them too”…Haha, well, who knows? She just might be! I have never read anything by her, but after reading this I can’t help but be intrigued! I have always liked tales about witches, and here in Holland we have a small town where there were actually scales that weighed witches, back in superstitious times. (I went there once and there was even a possibility to determine if you were a witch yourself….)
    Eh…I’m getting a little of track here lol. Seriously though, this book does sound very cool, and as always your review is spellbinding. Yes, yes…pun intended! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember visiting a location like that when over in Holland. I recall the scales, it was really interesting, though I was much younger at the time. I kept trying to get my mother on the scales. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hahahah if only we could tell! I’d love to learn more about their secret arts and whatnot! 😉 I’ve only heard amazing things about her books though, especially her writing, and this one proves that it’s fantastic!

      Oh man, the history of witches over in your country is definitely intriguing. And those scales! I’ll definitely want to check those out for sure. I wonder if people camp those places in care it reveals a witch or something! 😮

      Thanks man for your kind words and for reading this review! I appreciate it! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha, I don’t know if people are camping in those places, but it wouldn’t surprise me😂😂 Seriously though, it is a fun place to visit one day if you are ever in Holland again.It’s definitely worth it, and who knows…you might just meet some real witches 😂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I believe I heard of this series on the blogosphere but I’m unfamiliar with the books: this one, however, sounds like a fascinating tale because what you called “intergenerational journeys” always fascinate me, as does the theme of the Salem witch hunts. The fact that the books sounds more like historical fiction than anything else is another point in its favor. My TBR will need to make room for another book soon! 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was actually surprised by its historical fiction accent myself. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised, especially by her beautiful writing style that feels so immersive and detailed! It’s safe to say that she knows how to write and I hope to check out the rest of this series or more of her stuff in the future! Thanks for reading, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This certainly sounds like one I’d like. Every year I say to myself that I’ll read one of Hoffman’s novels but have yet to do so. Still, I look forward to trying Practical Magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just watched the movie Practical Magic and the story with the Owens family and the curse sounded so familiar. Afterwards, I realised my recognition came from reviews of this book. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still not at all sure if I’d enjoy these books. I keep hearing good things. Maybe it’s the movie that keeps me away, as I don’t recall being that into it. But I do like how so many folks really enjoy this series. That’s always a great thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard of the movie after reading this book and knowing that it was based on Alice Hoffman’s book saddens me hahah I think you should try to sample her writing in one of her books because it’s what really stands out the most in this one! Hopefully, you’ll discover a new author to check out soon enough. 😉 Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing your thoughts, Todd! 😀


  6. I swear one day I will read her books as so many of my blogger friends recommend them to me! Grate review Lashaan and congrats for being “in” now LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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