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The Rules of Magic: Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give, will be returned to you threefold. Fall in love whenever you can.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to have been granted an early copy of Alice Hoffman’s prequel to Practical Magic. While I have to admit I haven’t read the original story, I have seen the movie more times than I can count. I was so excited to learn more about the Owen’s Family and their long history with tragedies of the heart.

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The Rules of Magic begins at the end of the 1950’s in New York where we meet Susanna Owens. Years earlier when she was young, she ran away from her Massachusetts home to Paris in order to escape her family history and the future she was told she was destined to have. The future she wanted to avoid consisted of a curse against anyone the Owens children fell in love with plus the family history of birthing only female children. The curse began in the 1600’s when Maria Owens was cast out by the father of her child after their affair. Because of her anger and heartbreak she cast the curse in order to protect future generations of Owens offspring. “Ruination for any man who fell in love with them.” Hundreds of years later, Susanna birthed the only male born in the family, Vincent. Vincent was born with the gift of charm, musicality and charisma. He was so charming in fact that a nurse tried to kidnap him from the hospital days after his birth. When the nurse was on trial, she claimed she was spellbound by the baby! Susanna’s other two children were both girls. Bridgette (Jet), always knew what others were thinking and was incredibly beautiful. Her beauty would cause tragedy in the years to come. Frances was the oldest and she had the ability to communicate with birds. She adamantly denied to herself and others that her and her siblings were any different and frowned upon anyone who mentioned that the children had special gifts.  In order to protect her children, Susanna set strict rules for them . “No walking in the moonlight, no Ouija boards, no candles, no red shoes, no wearing black, no going shoeless, no amulets, no night-blooming flowers, no reading novels about magic, no cats, no crows, and no venturing below Fourteen St. and NEVER fall in love.” Of course, every single one of those rules were broken. The Rules of Magic follows Franny, Jet and Vincent through their lives from the time they were young. The magic however really begins the moment Franny receives an invitation to visit their Aunt Isabelle as every Owen’s child does at the age of seventeen. Her siblings come along with her and in the summer that changes everything, there is heartache, denial, tragedy, death, and lots of magic. The story takes you to the highest of highs then breaks your heart in devastating ways. You can feel the pain and heartache the Owen’s children faced through every phase of their lives. Having the gift of sight, they live their lives trying to deny the futures they have seen coming. Alice Hoffman magically weaves their tale throughout the years adding details that make you feel as though you were living it with them. Not being able to fall in love causes problems they could never have imagined because as Vincent believes, “What is this world without love?” How do you prevent your heart from loving? I took so many notes while reading this and highlighted so many passages. Things I thought were magical fun as well as beautiful quotes and descriptions. I enjoyed passages describing how Susanna Owens taught her children silly things such as uncrossing your knives if there was an argument at the dinner table, and that butter melting in a dish meant someone nearby was in love. Later in the story, she confronts her children when in fact the butter in the house begins to melt! That made me laugh. I think this is a book for everyone. If I had to make any critical notes, it would be that the story felt like it could have been trimmed a little. But in the same breath I would say that I didn’t want the book to end, so I have conflicting feelings I guess? I also didn’t love the cover they chose, but that has nothing to do with the wonderful story within. Buy this one!

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From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

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