Review: The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #2) – Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #2) by Alice Hoffman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 10, 2017)

Print Length: 369 pages

Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins

Narrator: Marin Ireland

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

The Review

When I finished reading Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1) in 2017, I wholeheartedly decided that the movie was better than the book. Perhaps it stemmed from the fact that I annually watch the 1998 adaptation, or that I didn’t find the writing to be particularly grasping, but I honestly had no intention to pick up another Hoffman book quite so soon.

And yet, I found that I rather enjoyed reading Practical Magic’s prequel, The Rules of Magic. A quirky, well paced look into Franny, Jet, and their brother Vincent, The Rules of Magic expertly weaves magic and the decades together to show the painful experiences the Owens’ children have to go through at the hands of a curse.

Out of all the children, I think I enjoyed Franny’s story the most. As the eldest, Franny tries to be the model in which her siblings should look up to. That is until Hay, the Owens’ childhood friend, enters the picture. Spanning the sixties and seventies, Franny and Hay’s love affair tests the curse placed on the family by matriarch, Maria Owens, and while it ends much as the reader expects it nevertheless is a beautiful relationship to read about. Equally, I enjoyed learning about Vincent, Franny and Jet’s brother, and how he is a character that didn’t make an appearance in Practical Magic.

I suppose the only reason I couldn’t rate The Rules of Magic higher is because I felt the ending was a tad rushed. To explore the world and the characters created by Hoffman, and to find myself enjoying it, was kind of broken by the fact that the ending came about too fast.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And those are my thoughts on The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #2) by Alice Hoffman. Have any paranormal historical fiction recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.



  1. Jonny Pongratz

    Nice review! I had mixed feelings about Practical Magic #1 and also thought that the movie was better than the book.

    I probably won’t continue with the prequel, but definitely appreciate your post. Happy Friday!


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