Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Posted October 27, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 35 Comments

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Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic

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Series: Practical Magic #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Penguin Group
Released on August 5, 2003
Pages: 286
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

A history of magic and doomed love runs through the veins of the Owens sisters who grew up in a small town with their quirky aunts and their heritage follows them into adulthood.  Practical Magic has been on my radar for oh so long and I had good intentions of reading.  I figured it was high time when I caught sight of the 20th Anniversary edition.

Review

Practical Magic introduces to very different sisters, Sally and Gillian.  Sally is the older, responsible, care-giving sister who hopes for true love, but is fearful because she has seen what love can do to people especially those who come to her aunts for their homegrown magics to take love in greedy or possessive ways and are cursed to get exactly what they wanted.  Gillian has flair and attracts the attention of every boy and man in sight, but she is flighty and can’t seem to keep love and has no desire to stick around any longer than she has to and runs off.

When years pass and Sally is widowed and living on her own with her two girls who have grown into tempestuous teenagers in a house on Long Island, suddenly Gillian is back in their lives once again bringing with her more than any of them bargained for.  But, the arrival of Gillian is a catalyst in their quiet lives and suddenly the possibilities of love, life changes, and the strength in the Owens’ women of three generations is tested.

I enjoyed this gentle, heartwarming style that portrayed life, family connection, love in it’s many forms and a smidge of magic all rolled into one.  The magic is there, but subtly though significantly part of the plot.  The focus was Sally and Gillian, but the older pair of aunts and the youngest set of sisters were strong and made it a multi-generational story.

Both Sally and Gillian have been disappointed in first love, but no matter how far they are apart, they still have familial love.  It is only when they come together as adults that they take chances on love again and see Sally’s daughters take steps toward first love and life.  Even though, they weren’t that present in the story, I was captivated by the connection to the older aunts and the earliest Owen matriarch who started it all.  I loved seeing the women conquer their fears and pasts to reach out for new chances with great guys, but also with each other and their whole family.

All in all, I was captivated by this delightful, magical story and want more of the Owens family.  Those who enjoy magical realism, women’s fiction laced with romance, and stories about multi-generations of women should give this one a try.

Challenges Met

COYER Fall #24 ‘witches’
COYER Community #8 Halloween RAT
Fraterfest #6

About the Book
Practical Magic by Alice HoffmanPRACTICAL MAGIC BY ALICE HOFFMAN

or more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Lorna
Lorna
1 month ago

I read this way back when and loved it so much. Saw the movie as well but always loved the book more. I’m glad you enjoyed it and it was the perfect time of the year to review it!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Lorna

I watched the movie a while back, but didn’t remember it well enough to know what was different from the book other than the movie was all set in the aunt’s house and not New York. I loved this and it was perfect for spooky season. 🙂

Sharonda
1 month ago

Great review Sophia. I love a good witchy book

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Sharonda

Tis the season!! Thanks, Sharonda. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
1 month ago

I did not know this was based on a book, but then just about everything in Hollywood is right. Thanks Sophia Rose I may have to look this up, I mean I don’t have hundreds of books waiting for me LOL. 😉 Great Review

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Haha, no, no, just a small little stack. Yes, there is a series that goes back when the aunts are young, to the ancestor, and even to the kids when they grow up. But, I just read the first one finally so who knows when I’ll get to the rest.

Anne - Books of My Heart

I didn’t realize this was written years ago. I have been thinking about reading it. Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Yeah, 25 years, whew! It was a surprise to me, too. I can definitely see why so many love it.

Mary Kirkland
1 month ago

That sounds like a really good story. I remember a Movie with this title.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

It was charming. Yes, that movie is based on this book. It was a good one.

Ethan
1 month ago

I read the prequel to this one last year, but I’ve yet to read this one. I have, however, seen the movie more times than I can count!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Ethan

Now, that I’ve read this one, I want to get those prequels and the new sequel read. Hope you get the chance to pick this one up. I watched the movie once, but it is one I would happily watch again. 🙂

Lark
1 month ago

I loved both this book as well as the movie version they did of it. It’s just a fun magical story. 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Lark

I agree wholeheartedly, Lark. 🙂

Nadene
1 month ago

I had no idea that a book existed for this story. I watched the movie awhile back and enjoyed it. So I am thinking the book would be even better.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Nadene

Oh yes, definitely want to try the book, too. There are some differences from the movie, but I think they are both really good. 🙂

Lover of Romance
1 month ago

Oh Sophia this one sounds so delightful here. I just love these warm heart feeling stories.

Great review.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

You said it, Renee! This was definitely my speed for spooky season. 🙂

Melliane
1 month ago

Oh it looks nice and I love love the new cover!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Melliane

Isn’t the anniversary cover gorgeous, Melliane?

Jen
Jen
1 month ago

I’ve never read the book, but I did watch the movie years ago. Have you? Is it anything like the movie?

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen

It has been years since I watched the movie, but I just now picked up the book. They are both fab, but the biggest differences I can remember is that Sally lives with her kids on Long Island and in the movie I think it is all in small town Mass and she doesn’t have kids if I’m remembering right. The kids have big parts in the book and they are teenagers. Oh and Gillian has a new love interest when she visits Sally there. I think those are the big differences.

Carole Rae
1 month ago

magical realism is fun!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

It sure is and I don’t read enough of these. 🙂

Romance Reader
1 month ago

Sounds like a heartwarming read. Thanks for your review.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Romance Reader

It sure was. Thanks, Romance Reader! 🙂

Vanessa
1 month ago

I always love a good heartwarming stories <3 I’m glad you enjoyed this one Sophia Rose 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Same here! Thanks, Vanessa!

Felicity Grace Terry
29 days ago

Great review, I’ve been meaning to add this to my Wish List. for so long. Not that I’m going to do that now, I’m actually going to order a copy.

Sophia Rose
22 days ago

LOL, you sound like me. It took me years to get to this one. Worth it!

Iza
Iza
22 days ago

I’ve never read this author before but heard a lot of good about this particular novel, I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

Sophia Rose
22 days ago
Reply to  Iza

She has a very different style of writing, but I really enjoyed meeting the characters and their odd situation. 🙂

vvb
vvb
13 days ago

I’ve seen the film and have always wanted to read this. Glad to see you liked it.

Sophia Rose
13 days ago
Reply to  vvb

Well worth the read. It isn’t the same as the film, but it is just as good. 🙂

Mareli @ Elza Reads
13 days ago

This is one of my favorite books ever. Lovely review Sophia!!

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