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Summary

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.


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 4

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


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.


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.


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.


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