Wednesday, May 6, 2020

I've met a lot of authors in my day . . .

but I haven't met Alice Hoffman.

Alice Hoffman is, to me, a rock star.  A super star.   She writes magical, thoughtful, beautiful, extraordinarily heartbreaking stories.  And always leaves us with hope.

I treasure the time I spend reading her work and feel like a kid on Christmas morning whenever her newest comes available.

And have loved them all.

But I have favorites.  And those favorites started with a book Ms. Hoffman wrote 25 years ago and is now a cult classic.

"For more than 200 years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in town," the story begins. "If a damp spring arrived, if cows in the pasture gave milk that was runny with blood, if a colt died of colic or a baby was born with a red birthmark stamped onto his cheek, everyone believed that fate must have been twisted, at least a little, by those women over on Magnolia Street."

Next, but not until 2017, came "The Rules of Magic."

I was prepared to be disappointed as I so often am by a prequel.

Shame on me.

It was written, after all, by Alice Hoffman!

the spellbinding prequel to Practical Magic.

"Find your magic.
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1680, 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. Yet, the 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 memorable aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.
Alice Hoffman delivers “fairy-tale promise with real-life struggle” (The New York Times Book Review) in a story how the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is “irresistible…the kind of book you race through, then pause at the last forty pages, savoring your final moments with the characters” (USA TODAY, 4/4 stars)."

And next up - "Magic Lessons."  Due to be released in October.

I was lucky enough to be grated a wish when approved my request for an advance copy of "Magic Lessons."

and I finally learned the story of how the Owens women came to be.

Beginning with matriarch, Maria Owens.

"In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts”. Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson. Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it is here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling."

I finished Magic Lessons late last night, i.e., early this morning, and was sad to reach the end.

Alice Hoffman's book are books I often reread, and I plan of doing that with these three.

But first I think it's time for me to re-watch the 1998 movie "Practical Magic" with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest.  

Have you seen it?  If not, treat yourself!

A girl always needs some magic in her life, right? 

And what better time than now.

and who knows, maybe one of these days I'll actually have an opportunity to tell Alice Hoffman in person how very much her work has meant to me over the years.

AND, that those red boots of mine were bought in honor of her and the Owens women.


Kay said...

Oh! I cannot wait to read this! I love Practical Magic and the movie is one of my go-to feel good films when life is hard. I watched it again last week in fact. I've already put this on my 'want to read' list.

Gram said...

My library has this book, not on Overdrive, so I put a hold on it and will read it when the library reopens for regular hours or for curbside pick-up. Thanks for the great review.