If you’ve ever watched Practical Magic, then you know why I picked The Rules Of Magic as my BOTM pick last month. In 1998, I was 11 years old and my love for Sandra Bullock was set in stone-I’ve never looked back.
The Rules of Magic is considered a prequel to Practical Magic, the novel, published by Alice Hoffman in 1995. I am ashamed to say, until reading the Book of the Month blurb, I didn’t know that Practical Magic the movie was based on the novel. I plan to remedy this mistake ASAP, just add it to my ever-growing TBR. If you’re like me and many others, wondering if you can read Rules without having read it’s predecessor, then have no fear! ROM works wonders as a stand-alone.
“Do as you will, but harm no one.
What you give will be returned to you threefold.
Fall in love whenever you can.”
-Alice Hoffman, Rules of Magic
Rules of Magic revolves around the Owens’ family–specifically, Franny, Jet and Vincent. Their mother has raised them separate from their magical heritage, believing she is giving them a normal life and protecting them from the danger that magic brings. We follow the three Owens’ children through life and love, cursed and disastrous, as they learn about themselves and their familial bloodline. As with any sibling trio, the three are all unique from each other. Franny, the eldest, is brave and cautious, determined to take care of her siblings. Jet, the middle child is a dreamy romantic. Vincent, the youngest and only son, is a loose cannon, completely embracing who he knows his true self to be.
In the summer of 1960, Franny, Jet and Vincent go to stay with quirky Aunt Isabelle, who runs an enchantment business from her home, leaving the porch light on at night so women in the community know she’s available for charms and potions to grant their wishes and desires. Isabelle teaches the children more about their history and what magical feats they are capable of. They learn that for the Owens’ family, love is cursed, and finding true love only brings pain and sorrow for those involved. Throughout the book, we watch as the Owens’ family tries to hide from love, the curse and sometimes both.
“Know that the only remedy for love is to love more.”
-Alice Hoffman, The Rules of Magic
ROM is based on a story surrounding the world of magical realism, but Hoffman doesn’t spend a lot of time delving into the details of the Owens’ talents. It’s more just something that’s a part of their life, not what their lives revolve around. I actually wish there had been more magic! It’s so mystifying to me and one of the reasons I was excited for this read. I was a bit disappointed in that.
The book was sometimes slow, with ups and downs happening through each characters’ life. Overall, this story is full of sadness, heartbreak, optimism and heartwarming love between the family. Taking place in the 1960’s, Hoffman tackles many social issues, but she does so with grace and tact. I would rate this book as 3.5 stars (I rounded up on GoodReads because the cover is pretty to look at). The story kept me intrigued; however, I did feel the book could have been condensed a bit. Hoffman does an amazing job describing the scenery, tickling so many senses with her detailed depiction.
I feel like I’m not giving a good sense of how I feel about Rules of Magic. I LIKED it, but I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it, but it took me longer than I would have liked. I think I’m in the minority there after seeing the raves on GoodReads, however, I’m here to speak the truth.