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21 October 2019

Book Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman coverAdd to Goodreads button
The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back - almost as if by magic...

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Family, love, sisterhood, childhood, magic.

So here's the thing. Practical Magic is one of my favourite films. I absolutely love it, I watch it around once a month, I know the script by heart and I sing along to the soundtrack. And it's been that way since I first watched it when I was around ten. And I've always known that it was first a book, but I'd been afraid to pick it up. Because what if I just didn't love it?

So here's the thing. I was an idiot because I absolutely adored the book too. It's very very different from the film, but I liked the differences. In the book, magic is more of a background thing, hinted at but not really seen until well into the story. Practical Magic focuses a lot more on family themes than magic and witchcraft.

The difference between the sisters is so marked, and you know what? I still love Sally more. This book also looks a lot more at Antonia and Kylie which was something I wasn't expecting.

The writing is beautiful and I picked out so many quotes. It's charming and lyrical and magical and I was drawn quickly into the story. I loved the narrative voice and overall tone to the writing as the story was told, even if it felt like it jumped around a bit.

If it came down to book versus film I have to say that for me the film still wins - I engage with all of the characters on a much deeper level and it has a banging soundtrack. Practical Magic is a book I love, it's a book I will read again, and I will likely pick up the sequel too.


  1. Oooh. You should definitely read Rules of Magic, it's a prequel but it adds so much to this world. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book

  2. Love the cover!!

    Shirley |


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