Rating: 3.5 / 5
I picked up a copy of MAGIC LESSONS by Alice Hoffman when it was a Book of the Month pick, but hadn’t felt compelled to pick it up. A friend’s BOTM backlist readathon in April gave me the prompt I needed to finally pick it up!
MAGIC LESSONS is a prequel to Alice Hoffman’s PRACTICAL MAGIC series, delving into the history of the Owens bloodline and the origins of their magical gifts and family curse. The novel begins in the 1600s when a child is abandoned and taken in by Hannah Owens. Hannah recognizes a gift in her young charge Maria. It is Maria who invokes the curse that will follow the Owens line after she is abandoned by the man she loves. The story continues with Maria’s own daughter Faith and her struggles with magic and love.
This book took me a while to get into and I struggled with the first half or so. As we got further into Maria’s story and that of Faith, I found myself enjoying it much more. Though this does work as a standalone without having read Hoffman’s earlier books, I think I might have appreciated this one more if I had more recently read (or watched) PRACTICAL MAGIC.
The book is set against a backdrop of intolerance where strong women were declared witches and jailed or burned. This certainly delivered some powerful and heartbreaking moments in the narrative. I also really enjoyed how the different women’s stories were woven together through the book.
I am glad that I finally got a chance to pick this one up. Even if it wasn’t a new favorite, I did wind up really enjoying the read!
#AroundTheYearIn52Books – a book with elements of magic