My first book review of the year is a book I looked forward to ever since I knew it was written, The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman. This is book four and the conclusion of the Practical Magic series but with a witchy world full of wonderful characters with many backstories to explore a reader can always wish for more.
Book Review: The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Title: A Book of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: fiction, fantasy, witchlit
Release Date: 6th Jan 2022
‘Full of Hoffman’s bewitching and lucid prose and vivid characters, The Book of Magic is ultimately about the very human magic of family and love and actions that echo through generations… it casts a spell’ —Matt Haig
THE STUNNING, UNFORGETTABLE CONCLUSION TO THE BELOVED PRACTICAL MAGIC SERIES
For centuries, the Owens family has been cursed in matters of love. When beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the sound of the deathwatch beetle, she knows that it is a signal. She has finally discovered the secret to breaking the curse, but time is running out. She has only seven days to live.
Unaware of the family’s witchcraft lineage and all it entails, one of the young sisters of the new Owens generation has fallen in love. As the curse strikes once again, her love’s fate hangs in the balance, spurring three generations of Owens to venture back to where it all began and use their gifts to break the spell that has marked all their lives.
But doing so threatens to destroy everything the family has fought so hard to protect. How much will they give up for the greatest gift of all?
I had high hopes for this book, and it didn’t let me down. From the moment Jet heard the death-watch beetle and begins a mission to stop the 300-year-old curse for good, I was hooked back into the world where reality is blended seamlessly with magic to discover whether this could be achieved.
The Rules of Magic, which follows the siblings Franny, Jet and Vincent, is my favourite novel in the series so I loved meeting them again, even if they were in their 80s. The journey to find a cure for the Owens’ curse brings the characters to Essex in England, and the descriptions and sense of place reignited my desire to visit there. It has been on my literary tour wishlist since I read Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine.
The strength of these books are the original characterisation, depth of magical world building and the lyrical prose that is littered with references to herbal references. This all adds to the central witchy theme.
It is a strong conclusion to a series about curses, forbidden love and redemption and this one in particular is an ode to books and libraries.
Though it could be read out of sequence, you will enjoy it more and be less confused with the multitude of characters if read in order. This could be done in order of the release dates – Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, The Book of Magic – or chronologically –Magic Lessons, The Rules of Magic, Practical Magic, The Book of Magic.
Would I recommend?
If like me and those at The Enchanted Emporium you love books about magic, witches and books, this is a series to read. With magical prose and storytelling, a unique collection of characters and immersive worldbuilding this novel gives a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful tale of revenge, love and redemption.
I look forward to having a physical copy on my forever bookshelf for rereads and I know as soon as a copy is put on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf, it will be on permanent loan by the witches of Whitby and beyond.
Thank you Simon and Schuster via NetGalley providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.
Have you read this series or watched the film Practical Magic starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock? Let me know in the comments below.