The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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When I was a little girl, I believed I had the gift of magic. I would stare deeply at branches on trees willing them to sway with the power of the wind. Sometimes I would get lucky and other times I wouldn’t be. The days where I couldn’t move the branches was because I wasn’t concentrating hard enough.

I believed that the energy you put out in the world will come back to you. I believe in Spirits and beauty and the power of magic existing in everything and everyone.

Everyone has a little magic in them and in The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, you follow along with Frances, Jet, and Vincent as they discover the magic within themselves.

This is the prequel to the well-loved Practical Magic. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but I have seen the movie. One of the major themes throughout the movie was about falling in love and the curse that lives within the Owens family. If you don’t know what that is, it’s that any Owens woman who was to fall in love their lover would be subject to a terrible death.

I loved how steeped this story is in reality. It was more of a celebration of the pagan religion than it is about fighting against good and evil. There’s no big shows of magical powers and you don’t see things like forces of evil come and take over the Earth. The magic is subtle and beautiful and the world Alice Hoffman creates here is something similar to the world I live in.

The way Alice Hoffman included parts of US history including the Vietnam War played so well against the story of these siblings learning more about the magic within themselves. There’s skepticism and frustration and lots of love. It’s not an Owens’ party if no one is falling in love.

Magic is meant to be this coinciding with nature. From what I believed, I believe that magic is always keeping an eye out on everyone. It knows your deepest desires and it listens to spells like God listens to prayers. If you believe truly and wholeheartedly, then you’ll see the magic in your life.

Because I’d already seen Practical Magic and I knew about the curse on the Owens family, I felt like I spent some of my time playing a game called “which guy is going to die.” I waited for the sound of the deathwatch beetle to crawl across the pages letting me know that someone loves another person way too much.

But it seems like the love portrayed in the book is much deeper than any regular love. It can be persuaded and manipulated and carefully avoided. Love as much as you can and never stop loving, is even what they believe. They know the consequences to this kind of love and perhaps the curse isn’t that their loves will die but they’re cursed to lose love time and time again.


I almost felt the tears welling for Jet and her lover, for Frances and her lover, and for Vincent and his lover. Each loved so well and so carelessly that they couldn’t avoid the consequences of their actions. It made me want to hold my husband a little closer and hope that he stays alive a little longer. I couldn’t live a life without him, but this doesn’t seem to be the issue with the Owens.

Gosh, this book was beautiful. It was well-written and well-conceived and while I thought parts of the story dragged a little, I still wouldn’t have stopped reading. I wanted to find out more about these siblings and their loves and how they became the witches they are today. Magic lives in everything and everyone and with a little bit of love, you can see what magic does.

I received The Rules of Magic from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. My review and thoughts are my own and not influenced by the publisher or author.