Review of ‘Magic Lessons’

Magic Lessons, the prequel to Practical Magic, goes back to Maria Owens, exploring her side of the story and the origin of the curse she placed on love with her family.

The Thing About Love…

Magic Lessons

Magic Lessons
Alice Hoffman
Simon & Schuster

In Magic Lessons, fans of Practical Magic are learning the origins of the family matriarch Maria Owens and the curse of love on their family. However, love is complicated, sometimes short and heartbreaking, sometimes lasting a lifetime. For Maria Owens, she loved the wrong man, and on her journey to find him, she discovers she never really knew him.

However, her story begins before that, with her abandoned in the forest because of love only to be found by Hannah Owens, who raises her as her own and teaches her the Unnamed Art. When Maria sees love betraying her dearest Hannah, she vows never to fall in love. However, that is easier said than done.

Love is complicated and comes in many forms, and that is what I loved most about this novel. Hoffman follows Hannah, then Maria, then Faith on their different journeys of love. Of course, loving someone when you are young is different from loving someone when you are older, but that does not mean it lacks value or substance. Instead, Hoffman goes into depth with the character narratives to explore love, both the good and the bad, young love and beyond, making for a compelling read.

Hoffman explores the complexities of love, the various ways it manifests, and how it can corrupt, manipulate, and heal.

Slow and Steady…

Hoffman’s expert storytelling also focuses on building up the tension and character dynamics. The story is a historical one in many ways. Taking place during the time of the witch hysteria that cost so many people their lives, the reader sees New England come alive during this. From Essex County England to Essex County in Massachusetts, the reader is drawn down the old roads and place settings that have become staples in society.

It is beautiful to see the world come alive through Hoffman’s imagination. The historical context layers the story, creating a good foundation for the reader to ground themselves into.

It moves at a slow and steady pace that gives the reader time to get to know the characters, to see them evolve and grow.

Final Thoughts

In Magic Lessons, we follow the Owen women on a magical journey. It is not flashy, full of wands and spells, but intent, more attuned to the natural practice of real like Wiccans. It is beautiful how it follows the women through their lives with lyrical prose that captures the reader’s attention. Hoffman is concise in her storytelling but allows readers to feel the characters’ feelings, giving us depth and compelling characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: October 6, 2020Page Count: 416ppAge Range: 16 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-9821-0884-7Publisher: Simon & SchusterList Price: $27.99

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