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  • Another great book in Practical Magic series

    Practical Magic is a yearly rewatch for me, but the book is even better. So when I saw that Alice Hoffman had written a book giving us a glimpse into the first Owens witch, I could hardly wait. Magic Lessons does a superb job combining a grimoire with the emotional characters and wonderful storytelling that Hoffman is so well known for. Magic Lessons celebrates women even with all of the pain, suffering, and terror they face in a patriarchal world. It shows how even those with a good heart can be led astray, but there is hope of coming out a better person. Hoffman shines with her well developed characters and lessons in magic seamlessly weaved into the story. If you enjoy Practical Magic (the book or the movie), you’ll want to read Magic Lessons and Rules of Magic, which is the prequel to Practical Magic. All three books have been fantastic reads and I will definitely read the next book Hoffman writes about the Owens family.

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  • Great read

    Witches, curses, the Salem trials and most of all the Owens family starting with Marie! It cant get better than that. You follow Marie's journey as she is born into the sisterhood of magic , her journey and the birth of her daughter. There are rules to magic, potions and spells and when they get broken you can only blame yourself as it will come back to get you. So many strong women in this book that lived through a horrific time in Salem . There is so much more to this book than that though. I thoroughly enjoyed it , makes me want to go back and read the other books in the series. Well done! Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Canada, Simon and Schuster for a bewitching read that I got lost in.

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  • Amazing Prequel from an Amazing Writer

    Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman is the prequel to Practical Magic.  I am actually fortunate, that I have not yet read that, so getting to read the prequel first is a bonus. First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Simon & Schuster Canada, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions) In 1664, Maria was just a babe when her mother left her in a basket in the in a field in England.  Hannah Owens, known for her abilities with the "Unnamed Arts", found the child, and raised her as her own.  Maria already had a magical heritage, for her true mother was a witch.  She quickly learned how to cultivate her own gifts, and under Hannah's tutelage, she learned so much more.   When still young, Maria found love, but was duped.   However, Faith was born from that union, and her daughter was more precious than life itself.  Still, Maria followed the man to America, and that's when she discovered the truth of the man she thought she loved.    She cursed all men who would love an Owens.  But she cursed before she knew how important love was. In a time of the Salem witch trials, and the lack of women's rights, Maria and Faith learned the hard way.  Not everyone would accept them. My Opinions:    Alice Hoffman is an amazing writer.  Her prose pulls you into the story and keeps you there.  Her characters are deep, and they help to pull you deeper into their lives.   The book definitely has strong female characters.  Occasionally there were lists of magical cures (most of which used herbs from our own gardens), and those were fun to read. The historical accuracy of some of the events was interesting.  The book also probed the relationships between mother and daughter, which was sometimes intense.  As well, it explored a woman's progression from childhood to adulthood, and the trauma that sometimes accompanies it. It is hard to describe the genre of this book.  Although fantasy or magical realism may be true, I found myself thinking this was more of an epic historical saga (which I don't normally read or enjoy).  It doesn't matter though, it was good.  I think the books only fault was it's length, and although I believe she is an excellent writer, sometimes the descriptive narrative was a little much.  As well, it was a dark time, and the story was dark as well, but it would have been nice if there were a few light moments.  They were few and far between. Bottom was great. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next (first) book in the series, and will then probably re-read the second.

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  • Magic Lessons

    Wonderful! A great addition to the Owens sister's stories. Superb writing and storytelling style. New twist to Salem lore. Highly recommend entire series... Number four being written now!

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  • An excellent prequel

    About every ten years I break out some of my favorite authors' works and re-read them. Magic Lessons is a recently released prequel to the Practical Magic books, and an excellent introduction to the Owens woman in these old favorites of mine, Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic. If you haven't read them yet, wait until you have finished this one. If you have, after finishing Magic Lessons read them again. My focus changed when I began re-reading Practical Magic. I found that very interesting. We find ourselves in Essex County, England beginning in 1664 when abandoned baby Maria is found wrapped snugly in a basket of reeds with a crow perched on the handle, by Hannah Owens. There is nothing 'normal' about Maria but Hannah joyfully raises the girl as if she were her own child. Maria has powers that are growing as she does, abilities that can only be attributed to the Unnamed Arts. Fortunately, Hannah is also a bloodline witch who enjoys teaching Maria all that she will need to know to use her powers for good. In 1674 Hannah is killed by witch hunters, and after spending some time with her just discovered natural parents, Maria and her familiar, the crow named Caden, are sent to the West Indies, to a Dutch island called Curacao, where she finds that her father has sold her - she will be an indentured servant to the Jansen family for five years. Her luck does get better for a time, and she manages to remain positive and perhaps happy. At 16 she acquires her freedom from the Jansen family, is abandoned by her first love, births a daughter, Faith, and eventually finds her way carrying Faith and Caden, to Salem and NYC where she finds herself and her roll in life. A good book. Lots of herbal advice throughout, and a story that is hard to put down. I received a free ARC of this excellent novel from Netgalley, Alice Hoffman, and Simon & Schuster. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Alice Hoffman is an author with whom you can never go wrong.

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