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Practical Magic #2

The Book of Magic

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2021)
Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters.

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

400 pages, Hardcover

First published October 12, 2021

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About the author

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew; The Marriage of Opposites; The Red Garden; The Museum of Extraordinary Things; The Dovekeepers; Here on Earth, an Oprah’s Book Club selection; and the Practical Magic series, including Practical
Magic; Magic Lessons; The Rules of Magic, a selection of Reese’s Book Club; and The Book of Magic. She lives near Boston.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,363 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
401 reviews3,479 followers
February 7, 2023
If your grandmother was writing a rambling book with incredibly low stakes and absolutely no angst, that would be this book.

The Owens family is cursed. Any one who falls in love will regret it with something bad happening to their loved one. Will the Owens Family be able to lift the curse in time?

Rambling took on an entirely different meaning in this book. My gosh, I would often even forget the plot because The Book of Magic would go off into so many different stories and sub-stories that I was left confused. Unfortunately, this book was a lot of tell and not a lot of show. This was like a Hallmark movie but with no drama, no urgency. Everything always works out "magically." People fall in love just by looking at each other. Sorry, I can't get behind any book where characters instantly fall in love.

This book discussed being a witch and magic, but I do wish that it was more realistic. The author would list off certain spices for potions and other elixirs. There is a certain need in modern medicine to go back to natural cures. For example, nursing mothers often take fenugreek and blessed thistle. Peppermint can help with stomach aches, and C0Q10 can help improve heart health. Doctors are extremely quick to offer up drugs from pharmaceutical companies than offer up natural remedies. The Book of Magic did touch on how the local townspeople would seek certain cures when the porchlight was on, and I enjoyed the idea of people seeking help from non-traditional sources.

Overall, I knew I was not going to like this book in the first chapter because the author's writing style was too rambling for my preference; however, if you don't mind extreme rambling and want a cozy, feel-good story in time for Halloween, this will fit the bill.

*Thank you, NetGalley, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

2023 Reading Schedule
Jan Alice in Wonderland
Feb Notes from a Small Island
Mar Cloud Atlas
Apr On the Road
May The Color Purple
Jun Bleak House
Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary
Aug Anna Karenina
Sep The Secret History
Oct Brave New World
Nov A Confederacy of Dunces
Dec The Count of Monte Cristo

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Profile Image for Angela M .
1,285 reviews2,205 followers
July 17, 2021
If you’re a fan of Alice Hoffman’s “Practical Magic “ books as I am, you might begin this one with ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, I couldn’t wait to get back to the Owens family, whom I fell in love with when I started this series. On the other hand, it’s described as the conclusion of it, and I knew it would be hard to say goodbye. There are reminders of the past, things we read about in the previous books, but I would definitely recommend that the other books be read before this one to have the full emotional impact of the Owens family curse over generations- they shouldn’t fall in love. As life sometimes demands, this was a rule that was difficult to follow and not without consequences of loss and grief and unfulfilled lives. A difficult fate for these characters with such a capacity for love.

Bringing together characters from the previous books, as well as some new additions, taking us from Massachusetts to Paris, to London, Hoffman once again had me mesmerized as they journey to find an end to the curse. I’ve been under the spell of the Owens family through every book in this series, not through their witchcraft mind you , but through the magic of Alice Hoffman’s amazing story telling, beautiful writing and unforgettable characters. Magic and witchcraft, sure but this is mostly about a family who love each deeply and will do anything for each other.

I’ll keep on wishing for some of that black soap to look younger, a cup of Courage Tea because we all need courage now and then, and definitely a slice of Chocolate Tipsy Cake, no explanation needed. Even though the ending was perfect, I’ll mostly be wishing that Alice Hoffman will bring the Owens family back .

I received an advanced copy of this book from Simon & Schuster through Edelweiss and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
991 reviews2,760 followers
October 25, 2021

I have read all of the books in the Practical Magic series by Ms. Hoffman.

It was with a bit of apprehension that I approached this book, wondering what would happen to bring an end to the curse that this family has been under for hundreds of years. I shouldn’t have worried, Ms. Hoffman delivers a wonderful conclusion to my journey with the Owens family.

If you haven’t read any of the books you should know that the Rules of Magic are “Do as you will but harm no one, What you will give will be returned to you threefold”, the most important rule however is “do not fall in love”.

The history of the family goes back to the 1600’s when Maria Owens “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 for generations.

In this fourth book we will be re-introduced to Aunts Jet and Franny Owens, Uncle Vincent, Sally and Gillian, and Sally’s children, Kylie and Antonia.

The book was a slow starter for me as much of the first half is spent reacquainting us to the Owens Family. Since I read all of the previous books, I found a lot of this to be repetitious. I was happy when the book started to shift to present time.

Sally has never told her daughters that they are witches. She has never taught them any of the rules of magic or that they would be cursed in love.

Kylie, knowing nothing about the curse, does fall in love and there are serious repercussions for the man she loves, Gideon. Kylie travels to Paris to try to find Vincent, who has been missing from the family home for many years. She feels he must hold some key to breaking the curse. She eventually travels to London and meets a man who will introduce her to the dark side of magic, the world of curses and revenge.

There is much sadness in this book as Jet Owens has heard the death watch beetle and knows she will only have a short time to live and she feels she still has lots to do.

I enjoyed this book and was glad that there was happiness and love in the second half. The conclusion was a bit predictable but ended the Owens ' saga well.

As with all of Ms. Hoffman’s books there is beautiful writing : “It was as if the back of a watch had been slid open to see its workings. Even for those with the sight it was a marvel to behold time in all its beauty and confusion: WHAT HAS BEEN, WHAT IS, WHAT WILL BE”.

I highly recommend reading the books in order for the most enjoyment. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

This novel is set to publish on October 5, 2021
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
July 10, 2021
Review published on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Alice Hoffman, you have surpassed my wildest expectations!

With The Book of Magic, the fourth book in the magic series, Ms. Hoffman has accomplished what I consider to be an impossible feat. Writing a final installment, that is, in my opinion, better than all prior books in the series.

I adored The Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons and frankly didn’t think any book could surpass those, yet The Book of Magic did exactly that. Bravo Ms. Hoffman, Bravo!

Weaving together all prior books, here we have the final book in the Practical Magic series, with
Aunts Jet and Franny Owens, Uncle Vincent, Sally and Gillian, and Sally’s children, Kylie and Antonia.

Troubling times are ahead for the Owens family, though this should not come as a surprise. The curse that Maria Owens bestowed upon this family still hovers.

When Jet Owens hears the knocking of the deathwatch beetle, she knows her time is drawing to a close and that a lot of work must be done before she draws her last breath.

The Rules of Magic of course, still apply here “Do as you will but harm no one, What you will give will be returned to you threefold” and of course, no falling in love. The issue is of course, that Sally Owens has raised her children as if magic does not exist, thus they know nothing of the curse until it strikes. For Kylie Owens, this spells disaster.

What happens next, is well, pure magic.

Almost from the start, chills ran down my spine and made my pulse quicken at the predicament the Owens family found themselves in. Racing against time, Franny, Sally, Gillian, and Vincent desperately try to save Kylie and destroy the curse once and for all.

Written from the heart, The Book of Magic is character-driven fiction, magical realism and literary fiction all rolled into one.

The Book of Magic is filled with LOVE. Fierce, wicked, and pure. Love is what defines the Owens family and it will prevail.

This is a novel that will most definitely be on my Goodreads best-of-list for 2021.

To Alice Hoffman, thank you for sharing the Owens family with us for all of these years. To Hannah, Maria, Faith, Jet, Franny, Vincent, Sally, Gillian, Kylie, and Antonia Owens: You are loved, Always.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster, Edelweiss, and NetGalley for the arc.

Published on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,279 reviews35k followers
October 19, 2021
"Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library."


Alice Hoffman continues to bewitch and dazzle me with her writing and this book is no exception. I loved falling into the pages of this book, being reunited with some characters, and having characters of the past mentioned again. It all comes full circle.

If you are not familiar with the series, the Owens family has been cursed when it comes to love for over 300 years. DO NOT FALL IN LOVE or the cures will take effect.

This book begins in a library and with the appearance of a deathwatch beetle brings the knowledge that an ending for one is coming soon. The Owens family is a tight knit group who love each other deeply. But what happens when they love others? You got it - the CURSE!

As they attempt to save a young man, they learn secrets, undiscovered truths, and the meaning of sacrifice.

"When you save someone's life, they belong to you, no matter what they might say."

Hoffman's writing is beautiful, moving, lyrical and beguiling. She has the ability to transport her readers to the various locations in this book. It's pure magic! Her descriptions are vivid and crisp. Her characters are likeable and endearing.

"What begins can end. What is done can be undone. What is sent in the world comes back to you three tines over.

So go out, do good, love, and if you have not read this series, you need to do so, but I suggest not starting with this book. To fully appreciate this book, read the other books first.

Thank you to Simon & Shuster and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.comable and endearing.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,600 reviews24.7k followers
December 30, 2021
Alice Hoffman concludes the story of the Owens family, living with the rules of magic, including to harm no-one, cursed through the generations if they fall in love. It begins with the kind and compassionate Jet hearing the deathwatch beetle, aware she has little time, wanting to set matters in motion to address a curse that has brought limitations in life, heartbreak, and tragedy, knowing it will demand the biggest sacrifice to break it. She has her sister Franny in mind, knowing it will require walking the crooked path outlined in the The Book of the Raven, kept hidden in the library, but like all the best laid plans, matters are to take an unexpected turn. Sally, a bitter woman who knows all about loss, has turned away from her true self and the world of magic, and with the best of intentions of protecting her daughters, Kylie and Antonia, has kept them in the dark about their magical inheritance, including the curse.

An unfortunate set of circumstances, because it results in the love of Kylie's life, Gideon, involved in an accident that leaves him in a coma. After railing against Sally, a heartbroken and distraught Kylie takes the Book of the Raven and leaves Boston, Massachusetts, willing to do whatever it takes to break the curse to save Gideon, ending up in London and then Essex, the place of her ancestors with its history of persecuting women and the witch trials. There are reconciliations, Franny with her beloved brother, Vincent, who she hasn't seen for so long when he disappeared to be with the love of his life, the now dead William. Franny, Sally, Vincent, and Gillian follow Kylie's trail, meeting the tattooed Professor Ian Wright who has just completed his life's work, The History of Magic. Sally saves Wright's life, ensuring his help in locating a naive Kylie who finds herself out of her depth with her misplaced trust and in deadly danger.

I am left feeling bereft at the conclusion of Hoffman's series about the generations of the Owens family, the strong women, mixing their potions and elixirs for all those in the community who queue for their help in a wide range of matters. This includes the black soap, courage tea, the myriad of plants, including the poisonous, the herbs and spices, all with their specific natural healing properties and the magical properties of the likes of apple pie. This is a well written, atmospheric and a compulsively readable narrative, of identity, being true to yourself, family, sacrifice, and history. Hoffman shows that at the heart of the most powerful magic of all is love, with a light so strong it can dissipate darkness, with the capacity to instigate the greatest sacrifices. A wonderful novel that I recommend highly. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
November 3, 2021
What a wonderful way to end the series!

This book is a bit different than the first three books, but it is the best of them. I loved the movie Practical Magic though I think it influenced me too much where instead of just enjoying the book, I spent most of the time comparing the two. But the two prequel books (written after Practical Magic) were fantastic. Magic Lessons was Maria’s story and how the Owen’s curse originated. The Rules of Magic was the story of Frannie, Jet and their brother Vincent and was so very awesome. This book involves all the main characters from The Rules of Magic and Practical Magic in a great story about love and family.

I can easily see this being made into a movie. The movie Practical Magic takes place when Sally and Gillian are in their twenties and Sally’s children Antonia and Kylie are young. This book takes place when The aunts are in their 80’s, Sally and Gillian are in their 40’s, Antonia and Kylie are both attending Harvard. It could definitely be made into a movie with the same actresses. Though the ages would just need a bit of fudging.

Though I definitely didn’t need it in movie form to picture it all in my head and I really enjoyed every bit of this book. Alice Hoffman has a writing style that truly lends itself to this genre extremely well. It makes even the smallest things sound a bit magical. I liked the way the previous books had so many little touches of magic here and there. These witches are no Samantha, Sabrina, or Charmed sisters. They have small magics, potions for healing and the sight.

Not that they can’t do bigger magic, but a lot of the more showy magic is left handed magic or dark magic and there is always a price to be paid for that type of magic. Left handed magic is what Maria Owens used to curse her descendants, trying to prevent them from heartache like she suffered. So to this day, anyone an Owens loves is ruined and in turn so are they when they lose that love.

The family finds out in this book that to get rid of the curse, you have to walk the crooked path and left handed magic is what will remove the curse, though it will take a sacrifice. The Owens family goes on a journey to save one of their own who sets out to remove the curse and save the man she loves. They want to save her from harm because they know that she will be following a dark path to get what her heart desires most. All I can say is I loved it and when will the movie come out?

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,965 reviews668 followers
November 15, 2021
It's fantastic to be back with the Owens family at their home on Magnolia Street. They are still cursed centuries later if they fall in love and the men end in early deaths. This time around it's Sally's daughter Kylie who's in love and her boyfriend is in a coma from an auto accident. She's determined to break the curse set by her ancestor Maria Owen. The family travels from Massachusetts to Essex England where it all began.

A new and strange development for me where I love two prequels (book 0.1 and book 0.2) more than Practical Magic 1 and 2. Knowing this is probably, most likely the last of Practical Magic it pains me to rate it so low. But it's very repetitive and isn't as solid as the rest in the series.

Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,967 reviews1,500 followers
December 13, 2021
‘Beware of love’ warns ancestor Maria Owens to her descendants, some invoke enchantments to protect them and some have tried to trick the curse but they can’t outrun it. Jet Owens, now in her 80s knows she has only seven days left to live, she’s heard the knock of the death watch beetle and she decides it’s time to change the family‘s destiny. Her niece Sally has twice been a victim of the curse and is now a bitter woman. She’s tried to shield her daughters but when the curse strikes Kylie’s loved one it becomes desperate race against time to save him. They will risk using knowledge contained in the highly dangerous Book of Raven which will demand its price. So settle down with a slice of chocolate tipsy cake and a cup of courage tea as you’ll need it for this last Owens family instalment.

Alice Hoffman has enchanted readers such as myself with the beautiful and magical power of her storytelling. She is a mistress of her craft, her knowledge of spells and remedies seems boundless and these are some of my favourite sections of the book as they are especially lively. The race to seek the solution to break the curse is fraught with danger, all those involved need all the wit and courage and it’s not without sacrifice and sadness. The journey takes us from Massachusetts to England and Paris and Essex in particular provides an atmospheric backdrop. The characters are simply fabulous, one of the hallmarks of the series is the wonderful, strong, loyal women who share the common bond of love. I really like Professor Ian Wright who injects even more technicolour into the storytelling. The novel contains a wonderful message of love and the lengths people go to for those they care for. I really like the ending which I realise is predictable but it’s also a lovely positive way to complete the series.

However, the start is a bit ponderous and slow and the pace does drop from time to time but the quality of the writing is so lyrical that I find I don’t mind that much.

Overall it’s sad to see the series end as all good things do but it’s been a charming and delightful journey .

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Simon and Schuster for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chris.
Author 35 books11.2k followers
September 9, 2021
The Book of Magic is, well, bewitching. It's both a magnificent culmination of the story of the Owens sisters -- the whole Owens family -- and a deeply moving stand-alone novel. The characters are vivid and alive, and their race against time to save the life of one young man is as fast-paced as it is fascinating. I'm not sure which I savored more: the witchcraft or the beautifully wrought prose. Alice Hoffman is a gem and you'll treasure every page of her new novel.
October 14, 2021
How very wonderful to have completed a series that made me wonder and love the gifts of magic contained within its pages! As Alice Hoffman's series of Practical Magic continued, we once again are enamored with the Owens family as they deal with the many possibilities love can take and how being denied this wondrous emotion can possibly be overcome.

Perhaps, for those of us who find joy in reading of magic, we, too, would love to be part of this family either in the past or presently. The curse placed on the family has had many who have valiantly tried to avoid its happening and when a young man loved by one of the current sisters, is seriously hurt, she will do anything to trace down the curse and try to eliminate it. The family rallies to her support traversing overseas to eventually wind up where it all started with Maria Owens. As three generations of the Owens family work together to reverse the curse and save the young man traveling to death's door, they learn that love in all its forms can conquer all. Franny Owens, with the aid of a book and her long lost brother realize that anything worth fighting for involves a sacrifice, perhaps the greatest sacrifice of all.

Joined in love and that wonderful gift they all possess even though Sally Owens wants to keep her daughters away from the secret, they all come to the final truth that love is worth every sacrifice, every stolen moment, and sometimes requires every bit of courage and magic one possesses.

I have loved this entire series, and of course am saddened by its ending. However, the magic in the world will continue as the old saying goes, love conquers all.
Thank you to Alice Hoffman, Simon Schuster, and NetGalley for a copy of this endearing story which published recently.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,018 reviews2,517 followers
September 8, 2021
3.5 stars, rounded up
I am not a fan of fantasy and I’m also not a fan of romance novels, but I am a fan of Alice Hoffman. This, the fourth book in the “Practical Magic” series, is the final one. I can’t say it worked for me as well as the previous books in the series, but I was pleased to see how it all came together.
The Owens family has been dealing with a curse for generations. Anyone that a family member falls in love with, comes to harm. Finally, as the love interest of Kylie lies in a coma, she seeks to break the curse. This involves walking on the dark side of witchcraft. And in an effort to help, other members of the family travel behind her. The youngest generation were unaware of their heritage. The middle generation had tried to ignore their heritage. The older generation were the last ones to embrace who they were.
Hoffman has created characters that I care about and want to see them finally be able to love openly and freely. Each character was fully developed and each faces some form of self realization.
The theme of the book is basic, but not trivial. It’s that love is what makes us fully alive and we need to be willing to risk ourselves to embrace it. “Everything worthwhile was dangerous.”
The problem was the pacing of the book was not uniform and I found it dragged at times. Also, parts were predictable. Walking on the dark side, not everyone can be trusted. But I adored the ending. Hoffman’s beautiful writing really came to the forefront then and I was highlighting phrases right and left.
My thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Brina.
898 reviews4 followers
December 19, 2021
It’s been a busy year to say the least. I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to read this last installment of the Owens family saga when it came out. Did I enjoy it as much as the other books in the saga, not really, only because the loose ends were tied up too neatly. I wanted the door left open for future books featuring this magical family, but, as they say, all good things must come to an end. One day when I am not bogged down by teaching preschool full time I will give this book and it’s author justice by writing a full review, but, in the meantime, I have been grateful to know the fictional Owens family, and hopefully, next year my life will have time for more reading in it.
Profile Image for Shannen.
374 reviews
November 16, 2021
This was horrifically hard to get through, but I felt compelled to finish it. Practical Magic is probably one of my most favorite books, but the quality has dropped increasingly in each installment and this is a sloppy mess of a book.

In addition to the consistency issues introduced in the prequels there are entirely new ones that hit like giant rocks smashing into the previous themes of the book. From details like how Michael died, Jet's beau having been married, to bigger (repeated) slip ups like Antonia being the model, protective big sister (as opposed to the selfish, spoiled brat she was for most of their lives until they finally bonded towards the end of book 1 - they even make a point of Sally being dismayed by this, because big sistering is her jam), and apparently Sally didn't really love Michael OR Gary, or I guess those relationships didn't count BECAUSE ONLY THIS ONE DOES. Likewise Antonia is now hardcore gay, and always has been, despite there being absolutely no evidence of that in the first book - she was actually attracted to two different guys (one of whom is also now gay?). Would have much preferred for her to realize she was bi/pan, or have it rephrased that she has come to understand that she prefers women, instead of trying to overwrite what we know about her with what feels like token gayness. As with Vincent, this doesn't come off the page smoothly and feels forced to include a wider audience. It gets less noticeably awkward as the book goes on but the heavy handed cis het relationships and awkward fumbling of the gay ones (though honestly all of the romance in this one falls flat) make it painfully clear this is not the author's forte or natural inclination (especially when she says things like she was "always gay" when she was exclusively chasing boys before). Some of the inconsistent info is actually drawn from the movie, which was not completely accurate to the books, as though this installment exists in some hybrid universe.

Grating consistency issues aside, the book is all over the place. The plot is almost completely lost in the mess of everything else going on. Even the witchy bits - which seemed aggressively sprinkled in Maria's book, but are thankfully toned down - hit off key here. The one that threw me the most was the fertility charm that contained what has to be the most well known abortifacient (based on how often I come across it), along with several very toxic plants - and she even admits that they're toxic! How is poisoning yourself and using abortive substances supposed to help you conceive? Must be magic! This book is also missing the ham fisted historical references of the prequels. I like history, and some of it was applicable, but it frequently came off as being forced into the narrative and I can't say I miss them here. Also not sure why they had to go back to where Maria was born; that's certainly not where she set the curse and (like so much of the book) it didn't make a lot of sense for them to be there. But I guess the author had to make up some BS to force another (very flat) love story in there.

Another painful issue with all these tacked on generational stories is that they're just the same fucking stories over and over again. Franny was the logical, protective, blunt and unfriendly older sister. Sally was the logical, protective, blunt and unfriendly older sister. Antonia is (now, magically) the logical, protective, blunt and unfriendly older sister (but she's working on her bedside manner!) If you're going to write an epic multi-generational saga, it would be nice if we didn't have essentially the same characters in every generation. Some variety would be nice. Also, because we're popping in and out of so many POVs, there is an annoying amount of repeat information between characters, often in the same phrasing, often on the same page. As if the author is beating you over the head with the version of the universe she's spontaneously generating as she writes (I am increasingly convinced she doesn't look to her previous books to fact check herself).

Making sure everyone magically fell in love - again (unless the plot excuses them from it), was a bit much for me this time around. I expect this was meant to hype the drama of curse breaking but it was just tedious. Plus SO MANY of them worked around the curse in the earlier books. Ridiculous. On top of that, the romance is not compelling. Instalove is not magically romantic all by itself, no matter how much magical thinking you throw into your book to pretend it works. I almost wanted to give an award to Gillian for most ridiculous curse workaround until I remembered Vincent faked his own death. Certainly hers is more elaborate than his, though she is shuffled off to the side a lot more in this book (not unlike the movie - though Kylie and Antonia still got story time here; there was a better balance between Sally and Gilly in book 1 but there are too many characters here to manage it).

Also the sort of crisis with the other curse felt horrifically overdone and ridiculous. It added nothing to the narrative but drama (not the good kind that builds up a story, but the kind that is manufactured for attention and doesn't really affect anything) and it was clumsily executed. Given the shit show that was the plot for most of the book (honestly nothing happens for most of the book - too busy retconning the other books and giving elaborate backstories to yet more characters that we didn't need), we could have done without this. It would have been nice to rein it in and actually focus on the family curse (which snowballed more in the prequels than it was evident in the original story - again I blame movie influence).

Reading this book was a tiny bit connecting with a story I love, and a lot like watching the author put that story into a shredder while she cackles madly and adlibs an alternate version of it, based loosely on a spotty memory of having heard the original years ago...and also determined to spam the book with references about "I Walk at Night." One of the best things about this book being over is that every time Vincent pops up (and granted I forgot he was there several times), he is walking, or the (60 year old) song is playing, or someone recognizes him (again even though he's been "dead" for 60 years). It made me want to scream, but now it's over and I won't have to read it every few pages anymore - and unlike the original, I doubt very much I will ever pick this book up again.

If it has any redeeming qualities, the connection to the aunts is certainly one. I definitely felt the love between Gillian and Sally and Frances and Jet. Also I loved seeing the girls progress with their lives, they're all going to or have gone to prestigious schools and are making strong career choices and it was really exciting to see. I also kind of liked the library stuff even though it seemed completely out of left field and a strangely heavy presence in the story. I suppose it was part of the half theme of words that was thrown in there but it felt muddled.

Overall an incredibly frustrating read. This book and especially the last prequel come off as a money grab. It's hard to imagine anyone reading this believes it's being continued for a love of the story; almost everything in it is empty. There is none of the original magic here.
Profile Image for Maureen.
329 reviews77 followers
November 28, 2021
The dreaded curse of the Owen Family. How to break it? No one can fall in love
without disaster happening.
This is the historical fiction novel, written beautifully of the Owen Family. It is #4 in the series. I would suggest reading the other books in the series to know about all the characters in this story.
It takes us back to 1600’s to the witch trials in Salem. A witching tale of mystical herbs and potents, teas and magical cakes.
The story of three generations of witches, some of which never knew of the history of their family.

Kylie Owens boy friend has a tragic accident and is in a coma. She must find a cure for this curse, but will she succeed? She travels to England to learn about Maria Owens and the cruse that was brought on the family. Sally and Gillian follow in hot pursuit. Sally and Gillian travel from England to Paris in a race to save Gideon’s life. If they can break the curse, Gideon will come out of his coma. Secrets are discovered and what they have to do to save him. At the same time Kylie is missing. Where has she gone?

Wonderful series, well written I enjoyed this series very much.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,739 reviews2,268 followers
September 30, 2021

’Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library.’

I’ve had this copy of this for months, but I knew this was the last one in the Practical Magic series, and so I held off reading it as long as I could. I know Alice Hoffman has many other books that I still haven’t read, and many others that I have, but this series has held an almost magical enchantment of its own for many readers.

Set in the present, this story begins in a library which is where Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle, and knows she only has seven more days to accomplish what she knows she must before it’s too late. End the family curse. Fortunately, she knows where the book that shares the way to accomplish this feat.

This covers a lot of the family history, centuries worth of history, but it never loses its momentum as this story includes many moments that will leave the reader turning pages until the end.

I loved this, but am sad to leave this family behind, a series that always reminds me that the real magic is family and love.

Pub Date: 12 Oct 2021

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Simon & Schuster
Profile Image for La La.
991 reviews126 followers
January 10, 2022
The first 20% was basically an info dump for those who hadn't read the other books in the series. To me this was a waste because I don't think it was done well; the backstory she gave was confusing to me at times and I have read all the other books. I don't think it added much to the understanding of new to the series readers, and it certainly did annoy me as a past series reader.

There were several continuity blips, way too many easy coincidences used to move the storyline forward, and too much of the writing felt clumsy and plodding to me. Then there was the cheesy magic...

One of the aspects of this series I have enjoyed even in Practical Magic, a book I didn't care for, is the magic was in a way believable... like your next door neighbor could be a witch in a regular world. However, in this piece of the series there were scenes that could be found in many a badly written High Fantasy tale, which take place in fictional worlds. This was profoundly disappointing for me.

Then there was the devolution into the bad drugstore paperback romance scenes which were my biggest problem with the first book, Practical Magic. After giving us two brilliant and intelligent prequels, The Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons, so much of the depth and thoughtfulness I found in those stories was stripped away.

The story did tie up the series well; giving closure to plot threads and questions about characters' futures, so I'm not sorry I took the time to read it.

I was approved for an eARC, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,091 reviews
August 3, 2021
I started this book with a sadness that it was the last book in the series. I certainly wanted to read it, but didn't want the series to end because I have loved all of the books and the characters. The entire series is beautifully written and captivating and this book was wonderful!

It starts out with Jet in the library who begins to hear the deathwatch beetle and she has only seven days to live. Also, a young man is near death as a result of the continuing Owens family curse and three generations of the Owens women work together to break the curse and save him and to release the family from the curse.

Alice Hoffman has woven a beautiful tale of family and magic that I know will remain in my memory as one of those special stories. The family is full of love and support for each other and they all work together for the benefit of all. I guess you could read this book as a standalone, but I don't recommend it. The rich history from the previous books make the story so much more meaningful. I can't imagine a more perfect ending for this series. Bravo Hoffman!

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster through Netgalley for an advance copy. This book will be published on October 5, 2021.
Profile Image for Rachel.
365 reviews162 followers
January 3, 2022
Love was inside every story. Love lost and love found, red love that stained your heart, the darkest love that twisted into despair or revenge, love everlasting, love that was true. You carried love with you wherever you went.

I liked the resolution but goodness, this book meandered a lot. Maybe I was just not in the right mood for it, but regardless it was my least favorite (despite the ending). I think anyone who loved all of the books in the series would probably still really enjoy it though.
Profile Image for Amy.
934 reviews230 followers
February 17, 2022
There is something about this author I just adore. My favorites are her historical fiction works, but these are both fun and entertaining, and beautifully written. And well tied together. This one finishes the series of four books, about the Owens family and a 300 year old curse.

My one regret, is that I didn't read them in order, and the details of the prior books were hazy. I must have read Practical Magic when it first came out, could have been 20 years ago. I read the Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons, each a year apart, over a year ago. I would have liked to have seen or enjoyed it in order. I imagined a mini-series for this set of four books. I know there was a Practical Magic movie years back, but this seems to scream mini series....

This one, the Book of Magic, is the end of the series, the one that ties the beloved series up for good. That makes the other novels wrap up well. There is indeed a good feeling in that. The writing and the sentiments within are sensuous moving, and always spiritual. I like it when magic is done well, and in my book, Alice Hoffman always does magic, and love, extremely well.
Profile Image for Dana.
195 reviews
November 8, 2021
It pains me to give this book such a low rating. Maybe my expectations were too high, being an Alice Hoffman and having loved Practical Magic 1, but it lacked the magic I anticipated and felt shallow.
This was a buddy read with PorshaJo, in which we were both underwhelmed.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
803 reviews236 followers
November 20, 2021
The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman was the last and final book in The Practical Magic series. In my opinion it was a fitting ending for a very enjoyable series of books. Alice Hoffman never seems to disappoint. Her writing was brilliant, addictive and so enjoyable. I loved how this series of books brought to tuition very strong female characters. All the characters in The Book of Magic were both vividly represented and very believable. The heartbreaking and mesmerizing conclusion was both satisfying and compelling. I knew the series would end with this last book but I found myself a little sad to say goodbye to the characters who had become so familiar. I listened to the audio CD that was enjoyably narrated by Jennifer Ehle and also read some of it on my kindle.

The Book of Magic was dedicated to finding a way to end a curse that had plagued the women of the Owens family for over 300 years. It had originated with Maria Owens and still affected the Owens family all these centuries later. It took three generations of the Owens family women to puzzle through the origins of the curse and find a way to end it once and for all. Success for breaking the curse depended on the discovery of a rare and very powerful book, The Raven, guidance and direction from Jed Owens, Franny Owens and even their recently found brother and the determination of the third generation and youngest of the Owens’ women. The Owens’ women knew that to love was to bring about death. Kylie, Sally’s youngest daughter, would not stop at anything until she figured out how to end this curse once and for all.

I loved The Practical Magic Series and The Book of Magic tied all the loose ends together in a very satisfying way. The Book of Magic explored the relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces and even sisters and brothers. It was so well written and kept me up late into the night not wanting to stop reading. I’m sad the series is over but I look forward to the next book Alice Hoffman decides to write. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read this advanced digital copy of The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Selena.
488 reviews309 followers
September 28, 2021
Bewitchingly Brilliant!! I have been a huge Alice Hoffman fan but absolutely love the Practical magic books. In this book, the Owens sisters finally figure out how to break the family curse. The curse of falling in love only to end up loosing them. This book brings readers back to Essex County to confront and end the mysterious curse forever.

A beautifully woven story that is so amazingly written. The writing brings you into their magical story where you loose yourself in all the beauty and magic.

Thank you to NetGalley for this advanced book to read for my honest reviews.
Profile Image for Alissa.
1,473 reviews56 followers
July 27, 2022
(July 2022)
Having just re-read the entire series, one directly after the other (because Witchy Vibes), I'm sorry to say I have to downgrade the review of this one. Why? Because of ALL the plot and character inconsistencies! As great as these later books are, Ms. Hoffman would have done well to actually re-read and take notes on the original Practical Magic book before delving back into the Owens family saga. I can tell this didn't happen. Especially with this book.

In order of favorites:
1. Magic Lessons
2. Practical Magic
3. Rules of Magic
4. Book of Magic

I DO still stand by my request for a cookbook to accompany this series, official or otherwise.

Dear Ms. Hoffman.

Now that the saga of the Owens family is complete, please now publish a cookbook containing all the recipes compiled from all four books. Tipsy Chocolate Cake, Courage Tea, and, yes, even Midnight Margaritas (even though this one is from the movie, not the books, it's too iconic to NOT be considered Cannon). Also, please make sure said cookbook contains a special section of home remedies and folklore. And please fill in any gaps or white space with quotes from the books. And maybe a sidebar or two. If you make this happen, I will preorder as soon as it is announced.

Thank you,

p.s. Please refrain from killing off any more beloved familiars. I can't deal.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,433 reviews828 followers
January 11, 2022
Read as many books as you can. Choose courage over caution. Take time to visit libraries. Look for light in the darkness. Have faith in yourself. Know that love is what matters most.

Profile Image for Tammy.
933 reviews174 followers
October 25, 2021
I’m sorry to see that Alice Hoffman is ending the beloved Owens family saga after twenty-five years. I haven’t read the first book, Practical Magic, but found pure enjoyment in her last three novels, including the movie “Practical Magic” as a precursor to Halloween every year. I’ve been told the book is even better than the movie (which they usually are, right! ;)

The Book of Magic opens with, “All the best stories begin in a library,” and this story begins in the Owens Library, in Essex County, Massachusetts.

The Owens family curse began three hundred years ago in the 17th century. The curse, cast by Maria Owens, demands that descendants avoid entanglements of the heart because love cannot be trusted. What was meant to protect them from love, now harms. Well they’ve learned to trick this curse (or so they’d thought) — by never declaring love or marrying, as it always destroys those they love. Death being the end result.

When the curse strikes the youngest generation, Sally’s daughter Kylie, Kylie vows to break the curse once and for all. She will do everything possible to not lose her best-friend (and secret love) Gideon (whom was just involved in a life-threatening accident.) She travels to England to where the curse began, with two older generations of family following close behind to help. I love that Alice Hoffman has layered her story with strong women, love, independence and equality. I couldn’t be happier this last generation of Owens ends on a happy note. Alice Hoffman has written a wondrous, magical series that I highly recommend. ❥

*Thanks to Simon and Schuster via NetGalley for kindly providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,052 reviews312 followers
September 5, 2021
Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication date: October 5, 2021

Alice Hoffman brings you the Practical Magic sequel you didn’t know you needed!

“The Book of Magic” brings the entire Owens family back one more time- Aunts Franny and Jo, Gillian and her sister Sally, and Sally’s now adult children, Antonia and Kylie as they work together to eliminate the curse that has plagued their family for centuries- any man who loves them is doomed to die. Using dark magic, old family Grimoires, and the help of a few friends, the Owens’ clan must do everything in their power to get rid of the curse, before another man dies.

Hoffman’s incredibly brave, headstrong characters that make up the Owens family, her addicting, page-turning plots, elegant and composed writing and magical stories make “The Book of Magic” a five-star read. It is not necessary to have read “Practical Magic” (or its prequel, “The Rules of Magic”), as “Book” stands out on its own but I would highly recommend both of Hoffman’s other magical novels all the same.

With the return of the familiar Owens characters, and the addition of some others, there is not an unlikable character in the bunch and I felt myself rooting for them all (with maybe one exception). Hoffman focuses on Antonia and Kylie for some of this novel, and it was sweet to see the sisters as young adults trying to start their own lives. The novel is narrated in the third person, and every Owens’ woman gets her chance to star, allowing all the characters to get their deserved ending.

“Book of Magic” contains nothing but love for books and libraries, and I instantly connected with this. Books are cherished, respected and handed down through the ages (as they should be), and most of the characters meet and bond over their shared loved of literature or books of magic. As a matriarchy, the Owens family (and witch clans in general) encourage intelligence, bravery and independence in their female offspring, refuting the traditional gender rules of societies through the ages. Each and every theme in this novel hit home, and brought all the feels.

Hoffman’s writing is pure magic, and “The Book of Magic” doesn’t disappoint. I loved the return of the Owens sisters, and enjoyed every page of this series.
Profile Image for Karina.
819 reviews
February 1, 2022
"Life was a book, Jet thought, but one you would never finish. You would never know how people would wind up; the good often suffered and the wicked prospered and there was no explanation for the way in which fate was meted out as there was in novels." (PG. 45)

This was my favorite Hoffman book that I have read. I enjoyed it very much from beginning to end. I am a very superstitious person. I believe in signs and reasons for everything. There are no coincidences and I feel everything is the fate and destiny from God. Saying this, I don't know if I believe in black magic and witches. I know there are cults and bad people that make bad decisions and give themselves to the devil but as far as people moving chairs and creating fires with their fingers I cannot be sure. However, I find Hoffman's writing very entertaining and her storytelling is very heartfelt no matter what one believes. Her magical realism is very enchanting.

This book had it all.... Love, drama, curses, a villain, family history, crows, magical books.... Characters you love and some you dislike= Great formula.

(Also, Hoffman mentions a character named Amelia Bassano Lanyer. This interested me a lot as she is intertwined with Shakespeare's plays. She is said to be the true writer for Shakespeare as he liked to "borrow" others words. This is very fascinating to me as Albert Einstein was said to have done the same thing, never giving credit to his Serbian wife mostly due to her gender. There's always a great woman behind a semi-genius man.. Lol) So now I will go down the rabbit hole on Amelia Bessano Lanyer.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,399 reviews463 followers
January 14, 2022
Ok, I have had enough summer now. Let's move on to All Hallow's Read, cooler weather, and a new witch book from Hoffman? Kthnx


p. 106

Many and many a time I have complained about novels in which no one reads and/or no one talks about books. Well St. Jerome or some nondenominational exalted and book-specific being that I can't think of at the moment interceded or something because The Library is the center of this story, and there are frequent references to beloved books and reading, and I couldn't be more delighted if it came with a bookstore gift card.


Pulls together all the threads in a gratifying way: not only the characters and plots from the Owens Family chronicles, but the theme of magic providing justice for women in misogynistic societies, and of a witch's grimoire as a record of their silenced voices.

In addition to all the books named, this is also a gift to lovers of quotes: about sisters, and family, and love, and pain, and nature, and curses, and plague. Like Our Town, there is an awareness of the beauty of being alive, even in grief.

I'm going to need to revisit the whole series together before too long.

Library copy
Profile Image for Joy.
22 reviews1 follower
November 2, 2021
I thought the last 40 pages would never end. We get it - everyone loves each other. Pedantic and droll. No drama, not spooky or witchy, nothing to inspire a deeper emotional response from the reader. Just long winded and boring. Such a disappointment from this author.
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