The Book of Magic (Practical Magic, #2) by Alice Hoffman
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication date: October 12, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
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What you put out into the world came back to you threefold.
In The Rules of Magic Jet Owens and her siblings Franny and Vincent were dealing with their family’s curse about falling in love. Decisions were made and prices were paid. Now decades later both Jet and Franny live in the family’s house on Magnolia Street with their niece Sally, who’s suffered the most, losing two husbands to the curse. In response, Sally rejects magic and has never shared the family’s history with her two daughters, Kylie and Antonia. She and Jet happily work in the local library. This is the quiet life at the beginning of The Book of Magic. Except Jet, now in her 80s, hears a deathwatch beetle and knows her time on earth is drawing to a close. Before she dies she’s determined to change the Owens’ fate. To do so will bring three generations of the family together and set them off across continents in this final book of the Practical Magic series.
In her final week Jet finds something from the family’s past that will end the curse, but she’s not able to accomplish it and so leaves clues for her beloved older sister Franny, believing that she’s the one meant to do so. But before Franny fully understands needs to happen an accident brings to light that Kylie has not open with her mother. She is deeply in love and now a man’s life hangs in the balance. She is outraged at her mother for not telling her the truth and sets off on her own journey to England to try and find answers. In doing so, she turns to the Dark arts and finds herself pulled into a situation with consequences beyond her understanding.
There are a lot of characters and plot in The Book of Magic, but Hoffman is such a gracious writer that even without having read any of the other books in the series, the pieces neatly align. The novel is a family reunion at its best, lots of love, but plenty of skittish behavior and sidelong glances from the younger generation. They’re faced with their own previously untapped skills as well as an entire generation of relatives they didn’t know existed.
The same hesitant feelings could arise in anyone not fully invested in the series, because there is a lot of magic in The Book of Magic. I appreciated the offhand manner in which it’s shared and accepted throughout the story—the black soap the women use that gives them their beauty, witches can’t swim, the two triangles of strongest magic in the world, the meaning of butter melting at the table, but if the world of magic isn’t your thing then it might not be so interesting.
Thankfully, while The Book of Magic is the story of a witchy family it is just as much a story of women in all their guises—hiding from their true selves, in love, their bonds, their strength. All wrapped in a grand, expansive tale that brings to an end the wonderful saga of the Owens family. Read this or any of the books in the series for a great escape.
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*I received a free copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.*