Review: Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman


Title: Magic Lessons

Author: Alice Hoffman

Published: 7th October 2020, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status Read October 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

“Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give will be returned to you threefold. Fall in love whenever you can.”

Magic Lessons is the enchanting origin story for the curse that plagues the Owens sisters in Practical Magic from Alice Hoffman.

It begins in 1664 when Hannah Owens, a practitioner of the Nameless Arts, finds an infant wrapped in a blue blanket with her name, Maria, carefully stitched along the border with silk thread abandoned in the snow. Recognising that the child is gifted with bloodline magic, Hannah teaches Maria how to help and heal as women from the surrounding villages find their way to the Owens home deep in the forest. When Maria is ten a finely dressed, red haired witch arrives asking that Hannah break a powerful love spell she had foolishly cast upon herself. The woman is Maria’s mother, Rebecca, who stays barely a night, but invites tragedy in her wake, and alters Maria’s fate.

“Love could ruin your life or set you free; it could happen by chance or be a well-planned decision.”

From England, to Curaçao, to Massachusetts and New York, Maria’s fate twists and turns driven by love, betrayal, fear and vengeance. An unwise romance blesses her with a daughter, Faith, but also places her on the gallows in Salem, and a curse spoken in anger becomes a legacy that will affect the Owens women for generations.

The characters are well-drawn, and believable, marked by joy and tragedy. Maria and her daughter are complex and appealing – bright, headstrong, and courageous, but they each make mistakes.

Hoffman weaves interesting historical detail into her story, including connecting her characters with the Salem witch trials, and one of its most prominent actors. She explores the lack of agency women had over their lives in the period, and the way women like Hannah, Maria and Faith were equally revered, and feared.

The writing is lyrical yet not pretentious, with a mesmerising cadence. Descriptions of people and places are evocative, with spell recipes a charming addition.

It’s not necessary to be familiar with Practical Magic, or The Rules of Magic to enjoy this novel, a spellbinding story, Magic Lessons is a captivating read in its own right.

“These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.”

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound I HiveUK

Also by Alice Hoffman reviewed at Book’d Out

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Tammy
    Oct 19, 2020 @ 02:03:08

    I can hardly wait to start this! Glad you enjoyed it😁

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Anne - Books of My Heart
    Oct 20, 2020 @ 06:10:27

    Everyone seems to be reading this one and liking it. Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. vvb
    Oct 20, 2020 @ 15:11:46

    Glad to hear you liked it. I have this on my tbr pile.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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