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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Best Yet!

    The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman is truly a page turner that pulled me in from the first sentence and did not let me go until the very last word. Alice Hoffman is a brilliant story teller and has created a true gem of a story with the Owens' family. I am a huge fan of The Mayfair Witches as told by Anne Rice and have now been won over by The Owens' Witches that Alice Hoffman has so brilliantly created. I learned after reading the summary that this book was part of a series and was a little apprehensive to begin since I had not read the previous novels, but I can confirm that The Book of Magic can be read as a standalone novel. I never once felt lost in the story, as Hoffman's story telling submerses the reader in any substantial background information the previous stories may have had. Part one of The Book of Magic begins with the perfectly named title The Book of Shadows. A book of shadows to a witch is his or her own personal book of self growth where she documents her journey on her life path, the curves and twist, ups and downs that attribute to an individual's personal journey. Appropriately named is part one because it gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of the oldest still living Owens sisters, Jet and Franny. These two share a sisterly bond that most sisters can relate to, a bond that helps them know what the other is thinking without words. Because of this special bond Franny, the oldest of the sisters, knew that the clicking sound she had heard was the tick of her sister Jet's time running out, the click of "The Deathwatch Beetle". Jet is fortunate in a sense to know the day that she will leave this Earthly plain so she is able to set all of her affairs in order and say her final goodbyes to her family. She is also able to lend a hand in absolving a three hundred year old curse that has plagued her family by leaving a magical text she discovered on her last day of life. Alice Hoffman's character development is superb. She made me feel like each character in her novel was a character I had met before on my own life's path. I found myself relating most to Franny, the oldest sister and matriarch of the family. Franny always seemed stoic and icy but once her heart "melted" for someone her defenses came crashing down and the truly selfless, loving individual she was came rising to the top. The strongest individuals, in my experience, present that icy exterior because when they love they love so deeply that they will move Heaven and Earth to protect those individuals they love. Their love is deep and unbreakable so they are apprehensive at first to let their guards down and show the world their hearts. I loved that Hoffman noted that every generation of the family held two sisters with an incredibly close bond, with each generation having the frigid no-nonsense Franny and the peace and love Jet. Each generation had a traumatic circumstance that brought them to the home on Magnolia Street and forced them to rely on family for shelter and comfort, creating a family that shared a magically close connection. "Everything worthwhile was dangerous, her aunts had told her and they were usually right." Ultimately I found that although this novel was named The Book of Magic it was ultimately about love and how dangerous and rewarding it could be to let your heart lead you. True, Alice Hoffman sprinkled in large amounts of references to magic but all in all The Book of Magic was about the bonds we form with our families, friends and life mates. Love within families is easy, we are supposed to be able to trust and love our kin. Friendship love is a little harder as we are weary to put our love and trust in to someone we are not as familiar as family with. Life mate love is the hardest and most "dangerous", in my opinion. Life mate love requires an individual to give their heart over completely to another in perfect love and perfect trust that they will return it back three fold. It's a "dangerous" endeavor but the rewards when you find the one for which your heart sings and their heart replies back is priceless. The Book of Magic was a beautifully well written novel that I greatly enjoyed and I am now in pursuit of Alice Hoffman's other novels. Her writing is beautiful, the characters are so well illustrated, and the stories so captivating that I find myself wanting to read more. Ms. Hoffman, you now have a fan for life. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy for an honest review.

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  • The final entry in the Practical Magic series

    First we had Practical Magic, and when the movie came out, everyone was introduced to the Owens women. Then we had Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons. Now, Alice Hoffman gives us the final books in the Owens Family saga, The Book of Magic, and what an ending to the series it is! In a way I’m a little sad to see it end, but then again, I am grateful to have closure too. I think it’s time to dust off the first book and read them all over again. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, or missed one or two in between, get them now, you’re going to want to read them all over again too. No one tells a story like Alice Hoffman…and no other witchy family captures your heart quite like the Owens ladies. Settle in for the duration, because you won’t be putting this book down until you turn the last page.

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  • VERY Satisfying Conclusion to a REMARKABLE Series

    NOTE: I was given early access to this manuscript through netgalley.com in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you Simon Schuster. Scheduled Publication: October 5, 2021. THE BOOK OF MAGIC is the fourth and final novel in Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic series, providing a completely satisfying conclusion to what has been a delightful literary ride. Awarded five stars on Goodreads. Hoffman, a favorite author of mine, uses this series to explore the historical links between fears and accusations of witchcraft and women who have behaved in ways that violate the norms of a male dominated society, OR have lived independently, OR have possessed knowledge about using herbs to relieve suffering. It turns out unattached women (or any vulnerable population, really), especially those who can read and write when most can't, are an easy target for blame anytime people want an explanation for something they don't understand. Hoffman's entire series centers on a family curse that is hundreds of years old as well as on the strong ties that connect women, especially those related by blood (sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts). While all four novels have been beautifully written, original, intelligent, and full of wonderful and distinctive characters -- THE BOOK OF MAGIC is my favorite. This final novel felt the most plot-driven to me, building steadily toward a very suspenseful conclusion. It continues the story of Franny and her sister Jet, their nieces Gillian and Sally, and Sally's daughters, Antonia and Kylie (now young adults). Without wanting to spoil your own ride of discovery, I'll just say that, once again, there are plenty of surprises and page-turning drama. A college student lying in a coma, his devoted girlfriend willing to give her life to heal him, a long lost brother, and assorted female members of the Owens family -- continuing their love/hate relationship with their special gifts: some eager to employ them, others in total denial. And nearly all of them facing decisions about falling in love. I'm genuinely sorry to see the end of this series. But fortunately, there are other Alice Hoffman books I've yet to read. According to the author, she recommends you read the books EITHER in the order in which they were written OR in chronological order: Order They Were Written: Practical Magic (2003) The Rules of Magic (2017) Magic Lessons (2020) The Book of Magic (2021) Chronological Order: Magic Lessons The Rules of Magic Practical Magic The Book of Magic Whichever you choose, enjoy then all!

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  • A terrific ending for the series.

    This book neatly ties up the series of books about the magical Owens family. I highly recommend you read the previous books first to get the most enjoyment from Alice Hoffman’s latest novel. A very enjoyable reading experience.

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  • Enjoyable Conclusion

    The Book of Magic, Alice Hoffman's conclusion to the Owens family saga, is populated with the family members we know and look forward to meeting again, in another fascinating adventure. We witness Franny and Jet's last day together, which reads like an emotional tribute to their past lives, and all that they've shared. Meanwhile, the lives of Sally and Gillian, the nieces they've raised, are examined and contrasted. Finally, we get a look into the lives of Franny and Jet's granddaughters, Antonia and Kylie. And yes, Vincent makes another appearance. In the early part of this book, Kylie's story is the most prominent, because she is in love--and afraid of the family curse, which her mother Sally will not talk to her about. Actually, Sally has hidden everything to do with magic from her daughter. It is Kylie's actions that set the main plot moving, and I thought this took a bit too long. When she starts to explore the origins of the curse in England, the action does become more intense, though it is periodically interrupted with her sister Antonia's life, which to me seemed to be a tangent that slowed down the story's pace. The most engaging part of this novel is when Kylie's concerned family track her down in England. This is an adventure that unites Franny, Vincent, Sally, and Gillian. In my opinion, this is the essence of what is enjoyable about these books: the interaction between these family members, the way they solve problems, and their loyalty to one another. The family history is also captivating. Along the way, there are many backstories. They are enjoyable reads, but sometimes they are too wordy, when there is, after all, an urgent crisis at hand. That said, some backstory is needed, especially in the case of Sally's new love interest, since this becomes part of the plot as well. The ending, which is protracted, put me in mind of a fairy tale in which everyone is beautiful, falls in love at first sight, and lives happily ever after. Overall, this was a charming read. I'd recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed the other books in this series. Many thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this fun experience!

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