Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic (The Practical Magic Series #1) (Hardcover)
October 2020 Indie Next List
“I so wanted to read this slowly and savor every page since this may be the last time we get to venture into this world of magic and the Owens family. But as if entranced by Alice Hoffman’s magic, the pages were turning faster and faster and I devoured this book in two sittings. No one tells a story like Alice Hoffman, and I only hope she finds a way to bring this magical family back to us again in the future. I simply loved this book. It’s everything you want from Alice Hoffman — a great story of love and magic!”
— Julie Slavinsky, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA
I have been eagerly awaiting this prequel to both Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic! Hoffman delves deeper into the Owens’ family history, exploring the origins of the infamous curse that plagued the women in their lineage via their ancestor, Maria Owens, the first to come here to the US. Maria’s story is fascinating and frustrating - filled with obstacles, poor choices, disappointment, regrets, courage, fortitude, love - a very human story, yet filled with magic. Honestly, there’s a lot in this book and Hoffman deftly weaves it all together - witches and witch hunts, pirates, puritans, the colonists of Massachusetts and New York City, the Dutch and Portuguese colonists in Curaçao, slavery, kidnapping, motherhood, persecution of the Jewish people, domestic violence, the importance of reading and writing to women’s freedom, love lost and gained, revenge - so much! The most potently explored themes involve the various ways people are divided against each other, and how we can rise above and come together in love. I am a big fan of the other Owens books by Hoffman, and this did not disappoint. Highly recommend as a perfect fall read, particularly if you are a fan of the other books in this series. However, Magic Lessons works well as a stand-alone - you needn’t have read the other books to enjoy it!— Dani
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
"Hoffman writes deftly, and often beautifully, about nature, and she can plot like, well, a witch, casting a spell on her reader to flip pages, reading ahead for plot twists... Magic Lessons is a compelling reminder of the past, which as it turns out, is not distant enough from the present.” —Boston Globe
"A gorgeous new novel you won't want to miss" — Bustle
"Vivid and enchanting, with a can’t-miss-it foray into the Salem Witch Trials, Magic Lessons is another sublime entry in an arresting series." — Esquire
“In Hoffman’s luminous prose, all characters, even the villains, are not only vividly, but also compassionately, rendered... Hoffman adeptly highlights that how one uses a talent, selflessly or selfishly, has a sweeping impact on many lives, meaning that one should always choose courage, and that love is the only answer.” —Booklist
"Hoffman offers an eye-opening account of how single women were treated in the 17th century, particularly when their knowledge or intelligence was deemed threatening. [This] page-turning adventure is thoroughly enjoyable. Hoffman’s redemptive story of a fiercely independent woman adds an engrossing, worthwhile chapter to the series." —Publisher's Weekly
"Calling all Alice Hoffman stans. Along the way, [Magic Lessons] shows us how smart, independent women were treated in the 17th century. Don't miss it." —theSkimm
"Full of wonderfully strong women, fascinating history and a plot that doesn't stop spinning, this book is a treat." —AARP Magazine
"Mysterious, magical and with important lessons about love and life, I cannot wait for it!” —Parade
"Heartbreaking and heart-healing…intense and gorgeous…This is an impressive tale, equal parts love story, history, and horror….The whole thing is absolutely riveting and riveting from start to finish.” — BookPage
"A very emotional, mystical, engaging read. The characters in this novel are brilliantly drawn with Hoffman’s skillful writing... It is a magical read." — The Free Lance–Star