Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman. (2020).
**4 out of 5 stars**
We first met the Owens in ”Practical Magic’. We discovered the tragedy of the the Owens siblings in ”The Rules of Magic’. Now we learn how it all began … with a baby abandoned in a snowy English field in the 1600s. Under the care of gentle Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the ‘Unnamed Arts’ which she has a gift for. When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem. 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 forever: love is the only thing that matters.
I remember watching ‘Practical Magic’ when I was in my early teens and thinking the witches in the movie were super cool. It was only as an adult that I discovered lo and behold, it was a book first! I still haven’t read that particular book but I did read ‘The Rules of Magic’ a couple of years ago and liked it. The good news is that you can absolutely read this novel as a standalone without any prior knowledge of the Owens family. I quite enjoyed this book, and I really liked Maria. I thought Maria’s daughter, Faith, was not as likeable as Maria, although there was certainly events experienced by her that shaped her future behaviour. I found the descriptions and explanations of the witchcraft interesting, although it did get repetitive at times.
Overall I think if you enjoy historical fiction and/or fantasy fiction in the form of magical realism, this book will be a treat.