Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #0.2
Genre: Magical Realism/Historical
Length: 367 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Content Warnings: death, grief, drug use
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.
I liked this more than Practical Magic because the magic felt more real and tangible in this book. I loved the 1960s setting, the sibling relationships, and learning more about the mysterious and strange Owens family in general.
However, I made a mistake by reading this back to back with Practical Magic within a week. The tangential writing style is difficult to binge, and I wish I had taken more time getting through this story. I was also very aware of a few inconsistencies with Practical Magic. They’re understandable considering the 20+ year time gap between publishing Practical Magic and this second book in the series, but as a result the curse and story’s message about love were a bit confusing and contradictory.
I enjoy reading about the Owens family, and I want to read the rest of the series to get the full family saga.