Title: Magic Lessons
Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic 0.1
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Magical Realism
Length: 396 pages
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Recommended for fans of: Practical Magic, Salem Witch Trials
Content Warnings: death, animal death, domestic violence, kidnapping, infidelity
In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.
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.
I love getting wrapped up in Alice Hoffman’s cozy and hopeful writing where anything seems possible with a bit of practical magic. This tale of the Owens family origin, focusing on Maria’s life and her infamous curse on men who dare to love an Owens woman, is by far my favorite of the series so far. It was a bit darker than the other books due to its historical setting around the Salem Witch Trials, but that Maria’s story even more inspiring.
The story is a slow burn, but so immersive and compelling as Maria learns lessons about life and love and witchcraft. Maria is the kind of flawed character you can’t help but love. She could be stubborn and misguided, but she was also deeply compassionate and smart. Maria experiences true hardships, but she doesn’t let them keep her down. I loved the way the story explored both romantic and family love, and how love is both more complicated and more simple than we often think.