Cover image for The rules of magic
Title:
The rules of magic
ISBN:
9781508238270
Edition:
Unabridged.
Physical Description:
9 audio discs (11 hr.) : digital, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Title from web page.

Compact discs.
Added Author:
Summary:
"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 ... 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 ... 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 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."--
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Summary

Summary

An instant New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick from beloved author Alice Hoffman--the spellbinding prequel to Practical Magic .

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. Yet, the 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 memorable aunts in Practical Magic , while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

Alice Hoffman delivers "fairy-tale promise with real-life struggle" ( The New York Times Book Review ) in a story how the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is "irresistible...the kind of book you race through, then pause at the last forty pages, savoring your final moments with the characters" ( USA TODAY , 4/4 stars).


Author Notes

Alice Hoffman, an American novelist and screenwriter, was born in New York City on March 16, 1952. She earned a B.A. from Adelphi University in 1973 and an M.A. in creative writing from Stanford University in 1975 before publishing her first novel, Property Of, in 1977.

Known for blending realism and fantasy in her fiction, she often creates richly detailed characters who live on society's margins and places them in extraordinary situations as she did with At Risk, her 1988 novel about the AIDS crisis. Her other works include The Drowning Season, Seventh Heaven, The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, The Ice Queen, and The Dovekeepers. Her book, The Third Angel, won the 2008 New England Booksellers' Award for fiction. Two of her novels, Practical Magic and Aquamarine, were made into films. She has also written numerous screenplays, including adaptations of her own novels and the original screenplay, Independence Day. Her title's The Museum of Exteaordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, Seventh Heaven, and The Rules of Magic made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 7

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hoffman delights in this prequel to Practical Magic, as three siblings discover both the power and curse of their magic. Susanna Owens fled her home in Massachusetts and settled in New York, where she marries and, with her husband, raises their three children, Franny, Jet, and Vincent. Susanna has done her best to keep them away from the powers of magic by forbidding such things as wearing black and using Ouija boards. But the children can't deny their special abilities to perform such feats as communicating with animals and reading others' thoughts. As they continue to grow older in the rapidly changing world of the late 1950s, the children's curiosity about their heritage is rewarded when they are invited to visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts. There, the children hone their magical skills and discover that an ancestor had cursed them so that disaster would befall anyone who fell in love with them. The three siblings struggle with the curse, sometimes pushing away their beloveds and at other times succumbing to the allure of love only to see it end tragically. Hoffman's novel is a coming-of-age tale replete with magic and historical references to the early witch trials. The spellbinding story, focusing on the strength of family bonds through joy and sorrow, will appeal to a broad range of readers. Fans of Practical Magic will be bewitched. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

The Owens family has always been different. Not in a quirky, adorable way, but in a powerfully mystical and mysterious way. A family with witchcraft flowing through their veins since the days of the Salem witch trials, the Owens have their own way of seeing the world around them. Hoffman's prequel to her best-selling novel Practical Magic (1995) is set on the cusp of the turbulent and liberating 1960s, when three very unique children are forced to come to terms with the very unique gifts they've inherited. Sent to stay with their Aunt Isabelle in a tiny Massachusetts town for the summer, three Owens descendants uncover the spellbinding truth about their heritage. Stubborn Franny, beautiful Jet, and charming Vincent set off on their own paths, determined to undo the curse that's plagued the Owens for generations. Readers who grew up with Lemony Snicket's Baudelaire children, or those who enjoyed the magical intrigue of Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy, will adore this enchanting, engrossing, and exhilarating novel.--Turza, Stephanie Copyright 2017 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

NOVELS FLOW FROM Alice Hoffman with the reliability of leaves falling in autumn. Since her first, "Property Of," published in 1977 when she was 25, Hoffman has averaged a book a year - more than 30 novels, three collections of short fiction and eight books for children and young adults. But Hoffman's latest offering, "The Rules of Magic," is likely to attract particular attention because it's a prequel to her 1995 novel, "Practical Magic," perhaps the best-known work of her career and the basis for the 1998 film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as the sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, born into a Massachusetts family whose founding matriarch escaped Salem's gallows by magicking herself out of her noose. People who know only the film version may be surprised to learn that "the aunts," as Sally and Gillian refer to their guardians, are thinly sketched characters for most of "Practical Magic." Though they're described as part of a long line of beautiful Owens women with gray eyes and an intrinsic understanding of how plants (and animal organs) can cure various ailments (principally lovesickness), most of what readers learn about the older sisters borders on witchy caricature: They're peculiar and reclusive, with long white hair and crooked spines. Readers don't even know their names - Frances, called Franny, and Bridget, known as Jet- until late in that novel's last act. Hoffman has now returned to fill out their portraits, providing a back story that thoroughly upends what we thought we knew about them. The Owens sisters had a baby brother! The only male Owens in centuries was the third child of Susanna, an Owens who skedaddled out of Massachusetts as soon as she could, desperate to remove herself from the stigma clinging to her family name. She flees Boston for Paris, then settles in New York, where she and her psychiatrist husband (a real drip) try without success to repress any inclinations toward witchcraft their children might harbor. The house rules are all about prohibition: "No walking in the moonlight, no Ouija boards, no candles, no red shoes, no wearing black, no going shoeless, no amulets, no nightblooming flowers, no reading novels about magic, no cats, no crows and no venturing below 14 th Street." Firstborn Franny, pale as porcelain, with "blood-red" hair and "an ability to commune with birds," mostly abides by those rules, as does the shy beauty, Jet, whose knack for reading people's thoughts allows her to skirt a lot of missteps. But Vincent, so charismatic even as a newborn that a nurse tried to spirit him out of the hospital hidden inside her coat, is not yet a teenager before he's south of 14 th Street, strumming his guitar on street corners in Greenwich Village as the 1960s dawn. The children live uncomfortably in their skins until Franny turns 17 and, in accordance with generations of tradition, is summoned to spend the summer at the family manor, where the current matriarch is Aunt Isabelle. For narrative convenience, Franny's siblings travel with her. And all their mother's carefully concocted strictures unravel in a single vacation. From Isabelle, the siblings learn to make black soap and which herbs will cause a married man to leave his wife. More dramatically, from their rebellious cousin April they learn about the curse laid on the family by Maria Owens, who escaped hanging but was spurned by her paramour: Any man who loves an Owens is doomed. Talk about your summers of transformation. What teenager wants to fall in love if it means your lover dies? It's tough to top a dead body in a car, the event that drove the plot in "Practical Magic," and Hoffman doesn't try. Instead she goes for historical sweep, setting the Owens siblings' saga against the backdrop of real events like the Vietnam War, San Francisco's Summer of Love and the Stonewall riots. But this is a novel that begins with the words, "Once upon a time," and its strength is a Hoffman hallmark: the commingling of fairy-tale promise with real-life struggle. The Owens children can't escape who they are. Like the rest of us, they have to figure out the best way to put their powers to use. SUE CORBETT is the author of the novels "12 Again," "Free Baseball" and "The Last Newspaper Boy in America."


School Library Journal Review

The gray-eyed Owens children have always been strange, and not just because they like black clothing and are oddly buoyant. Frances, the oldest, can communicate with birds; shy and beautiful middle sibling Bridget (nicknamed Jet for her black hair) can read minds; and the youngest, Vincent, is so winsome and irresistible that his obstetric nurse attempted to kidnap him. Growing up in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s, the children never fit in, until they visit Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts and discover they are bloodline witches. Full of gifts and potential, the siblings are cursed with knowing too much about fate and the future. Though this coming-of-age tale is a prequel to Hoffman's Practical Magic, readers need not have read the earlier book-but they'll eagerly seek out the author's other work. The clever Owenses handle major crises such as the Vietnam War, first loves, and the death of family members, all while learning how to cope with their special abilities in a world that doesn't always value those who are different. Fans of magical realism and lyrical novels, such as Leslye Walton's The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Moïra Fowley-Doyle's The Accident Season, will appreciate Hoffman's descriptive and succinct way with words. -VERDICT Give to sophisticated teens who enjoy a bit of magic in their love stories.-Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Guardian Review

Hoffman displays her magic touch once again as she relates the witchy sisters' family backstory in a novel set in 1950s New York The almost supernaturally prolific American author Alice Hoffman has taken a busman's holiday this year to pen a little fan fiction: a prequel to her own bestselling novel Practical Magic. The original book became the 1998 Hollywood romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as witchy sisters Gillian and Sally Owens. Now, in The Rules of Magic, set in 1950s New York, we are treated to the backstory of Gillian and Sally's great-aunts, Frances and Jet. Like all the females in the Owens family tree, Frances and Jet are witches descended from Salem escapee Maria Owens. More than 300 years ago, the teenage Maria was seduced and abandoned by Salem trial judge John Hathorne (real-life great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who added a "w" in his name to deflect the inevitable question). The fact that Maria's lover was a state-sponsored serial killer of women led the young witch to conclude - erroneously, one hopes - that all men are a bad thing. Thus before she went to her grave Maria decided to protect her female descendants by casting a spell to ensure that every male who loves an Owens woman will die, horribly and fast. This spell makes life difficult for Frances and Jet, especially when they become sexually aware teenagers. In the summer that they go to stay with their Aunt Isabelle, at least four local lads - including an adorable pair of 17-year-old twins - come to shocking ends. Aunt Isabelle is sanguine about the whole thing, and encourages the girls to keep on loving boys anyway, saying wisely: "When you truly love someone and they love you in return, you ruin your lives together. That is not a curse. It's what life is, my girl." It's all the great circle of death, we comfort our­selves, as we stroll through the scented garden of Hoffman's prose The girls' brother, the irresistible wizard Vincent Owens, has a different problem. As a youth, he breaks the hearts of endless girls, before realising that he is gay. Yet just as he's starting to enjoy himself, he remembers that he too is cursed to die young. Hoffman has a soothing touch, so we quickly get over the various horrific tragedies with which her latest book is littered - any one of which would pole-axe us personally for life. It's all the great circle of death, we comfort ourselves, as we stroll through the scented garden of Hoffman's prose. In the book, Aunt Isabelle trades love remedies for women's diamond rings. Hoffman herself has a spell for which any writer would trade a crate of diamonds - the ability to turn out one enchanting bestseller after another, more than 30 novels to date, and probably more by the time I have finished this review. She seems to have been a sad child - "Unhappiness was trapped in the house like a bubble", she once told the New York Times. So maybe it's not surprising that so many of her works deal with dead or abducted children as well as with magic - it's a sort of fascinated grave-digging with bucket and spade, followed by the planting of flowers that bloom overnight... while inside the house, the cauldron bubbles o'er with tiny finger bones. Fun fact learned from this book: "Abracadabra" is a word from Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus, and it means "I create what I speak". A good incantation for writers, I assume. Hoffman must say it every morning. - Helen Falconer.


Kirkus Review

The Owens sisters are backnot in their previous guise as elderly aunties casting spells in Hoffman's occult romance Practical Magic (1995), but as fledgling witches in the New York City captured in Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids.In that magical, mystical milieu, Franny and Bridget are joined by a new character: their foxy younger brother, Vincent, whose "unearthly" charm sends grown women in search of love potions. Heading into the summer of 1960, the three Owens siblings are ever more conscious of their family's quirkinessand not just the incidents of levitation and gift for reading each other's thoughts while traipsing home to their parents' funky Manhattan town house. The instant Franny turns 17, they are all shipped off to spend the summer with their mother's aunt in Massachusetts. Isabelle Owens might enlist them for esoteric projects like making black soap or picking herbs to cure a neighbor's jealousy, but she at least offers respite from their fretful mother's strict rules against going shoeless, bringing home stray birds, wandering into Greenwich Village, or falling in love. In short order, the siblings meet a know-it-all Boston cousin, April, who brings them up to speed on the curse set in motion by their Salem-witch ancestor, Maria Owens. It spells certain death for males who attempt to woo an Owens woman. Naturally this knowledge does not deter the current generation from circumventing the ruleBridget most passionately, Franny most rationally, and Vincent most recklessly (believing his gender may protect him). In time, the sisters ignore their mother's plea and move to Greenwich Village, setting up an apothecary, while their rock-star brother, who glimpsed his future in Isabelle's nifty three-way mirror, breaks hearts like there's no tomorrow. No one's more confident or entertaining than Hoffman at putting across characters willing to tempt fate for true love. Real events like the Vietnam draft and Stonewall uprising enter the characters' family history as well as a stunning plot twistdelivering everything fans of a much-loved book could hope for in a prequel. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Hoffman's latest is a prequel to Practical Magic (1995), in which listeners learn the story of Franny, Jet, and Vincent Owens. They've always known theirs was a different life, full of unusual rules, odd happenings, and more than their share of tragedy. Destined to be cursed when they love, the siblings each tackle the curse in their own way. The book is engaging from the first sentence, and listeners are drawn into a brilliant world with exquisite writing and major emotions. Marin Ireland presents a powerful narration, with subtle but effective differences among the characters. VERDICT With Hoffman's perennial popularity and all those readers who fondly remember the aunts from the original book, this is going to be in high demand. ["Admirers of Practical Magic and readers who...prefer to be kept at something of a remove from the grittiness of life's tragedies will relish this book": LJ 9/1/17 starred review of the S. & S. hc.]-Donna Bachowski, Orange Cty. Lib. Syst., Orlando, FL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.