by: Alice Hoffman
Published by:Simon & Schuster
Find your magic
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.
Franny and Bridget (Jet) along with their brother Vincent are part of the legendary Owen family of witches. Settling in New York city, The Owens kids are far from their Salem roots. Their mother, Susana, sets up rules to keep her children out of trouble and away from magic. The rules are thrown to the wind when the Owen’s children spend a magical summer with their aunt Isabelle in Salem.
What I Loved
‘The Rules of Magic’ is the prequel to Hoffman’s popular novel, ‘Practical Magic’. Although I haven’t read ‘Practical Magic’, I was able to understand everything that was going on in ‘The Rules of Magic’.
‘The Rules of Magic’ explains how Franny and Jet became the strange aunts in ‘Practical Magic’.
I did love the characters of Franny and Jet as well as their cousin April, and their aunt Isabelle. I also enjoyed getting to know Franny and Jet as young girls in love. The magic system and the Owen’s family powers were simple, easy to understand, and straight forward. This made the story move along quite quickly.
What Left Me Wanting More
I really did not like the character of Vincent. It wasn’t just his womanizing ways that made him unlikable. Vincent as a character was very shallow. He seemed more of an afterthought then a well fleshed out character. It felt like Hoffman was bending Vincent’s story to explain his absence in ‘Practical Magic.’
One element of the story that left me totally confused was when Vincent went to a bar and met someone (won’t say who as it’s a spoiler) who he did not know but knew him. At first I thought that it may have been time travel event but it was never spoken about again and never explained. The biggest issue for me was that although ‘The Rules of Magic’ did keep me interested and it moved quickly, it lacked a definitive plot. It read like a long prologue and less like a novel.
My Final Verdict
All together I did enjoy getting to know the Owen’s. Other reviews have said that they were disappointed in the lack of magic. As I am not a big fan of magic systems this didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the back stories of the characters and how their personalities developed. I would recommend ‘The Rules of Magic’ to reads would want to know the more about the Owen’s family before of after reading, ‘The Rules of Magic’.