The Book of Magic
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.
“I love Alice Hoffman. Full of Hoffman’s bewitching and lucid prose and vivid characters, The Book of Magic is ultimately about the very human magic of family and love and actions that echo through generations. Filled with secrets and splendor and light and dark, the novel works as well as a stand-alone as it does as a conclusion to a mesmerizing series. It casts a spell.” — Matt Haig, New York Times best-selling author of The Midnight Library
“Alice Hoffman has given us such a gift with this series, and this final chapter is sure to be another heartfelt celebration of mothers and daughters and the magic of falling in love.”—LitHub
“A wonderful conclusion to the series with a new generation of Owens to charm us. For fans who like their books with a good dose of magic, and readers who enjoy a family saga with characters that win you over. What a treat!” —Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange
"...the story brims with bewitching encounters and suspenseful conflicts revolving around good magic versus bad magic. Hoffman brings satisfying closure to the Owens saga." —Publishers Weekly
"Hoffman brings the Owens family full circle in a tale of finely wrought female relationships, magic, and love....The result is a magical realist tale rich in fresh Owens clan lore, providing a hopeful and satisfying conclusion to Hoffman’s beloved Practical Magic series." —Booklist
"The Book of Magic gives an engrossing and satisfying conclusion to the series."— BuzzFeed
"There's a magic to Hoffman's prose; delicate, deliberate and soothing. Indeed, she casts a spell that makes the reader reluctant to leave the world of the Owens family, even if just for a minute."— The Berkshire Eagle
"Hoffman’s lyrical prose and bewitching storytelling portray vivid, unforgettable characters throughout the final volume, as the family travels the world to destroy the curse."— The Free Lance–Star
"The Book of Magic holds all the beautiful discoveries and endings for these beloved characters that any fan of Hoffman’s could possibly desire."— The Book Reporter
Named as a Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2021 by: Reese's Book Club, LitHub, Scary Mommy, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Yahoo!, Edmonds News, BuzzFeed, AARP Magazine, Her Campus, Bustle, Book Riot, Popsugar, E, New York Times Book Review, Retrogazing, The Herald-Dispatch, Edmonds News, The Book Reporter, The Joplin Globe
Check out my interviews with: Hey Alma, Entertainment Weekly, Enchanted Living, The Middle, Moms Don't Have Time to Write, Double Booked Podcast, Friends & Fiction, American Scholar/Smarty Pants Podcast, The Globe and Mail
LibraryReads October 2021 Hall of Fame Pick
Read The New York Times Book Review of The Book of Magic!
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Read an Excerpt from The Book of Magic
Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library. It was there that Jet Owens saw her fate in a mirror behind the reference desk. Even in her eighties, Jet was still beautiful. Each day she washed with the black soap the family prepared in March during the dark phase of the moon, with every bar then wrapped in crinkly cellophane. Jet had no aches or pains and had never been ill a day in her life, but fate is fate and it can often be what you least expect it to be. On this day, when the daffodils had begun to bloom, Jet saw that she had seven days to live.
The deathwatch beetle had begun to call from within the walls of the Owens Library, a sound that often went unnoticed until it was so loud it was all a person could hear. When your time came, the black beetle would withdraw from hiding and follow you everywhere, no matter where you went. Its presence meant that the past was over and the future no longer existed. This was the moment that revealed how you had walked through the world, with kindness or with fear, with your heart open or closed. It had taken this long for Jet to appreciate that every instant was a marvel. Now everything she saw was illuminated. The sun streaming through the library windows in fierce bands of orange light. A moth tap- ping at the glass. The sweep of the branches of one of the last elm trees in the commonwealth, which shadowed the library’s lawn. Some people unravel or run for shelter when their time has come, they curse their fate or hide under their beds, but Jet knew exactly what she wished to do in the last days she’d been granted. She didn’t have to think twice.
Long ago, the library had been a jail where Maria Owens, the first woman in their family to set foot in Massachusetts in 1680, had been confined until the judges announced she would be hanged. Those were the days when witchery was forbidden and women were harshly punished, judged to be dangerous creatures if they talked too much, or read books, or did their best to protect themselves from harm. People said Maria could turn herself into a crow, that she had the ability to enchant men without ever speaking to them directly and to compel other women to do as they pleased, so that they were willing to forsake their proper place in society and in their own families. The court set out to destroy Maria and nearly did, but she could not be drowned, and she did not back down. She blamed love for her undoing, for she’d chosen the wrong man, with dire consequences. Just before the rope that was meant to end her life snapped, and she was miraculously saved, Maria called out a curse upon love.
Beware of love, she had written on the first page of her journal, now exhibited in the library, a display mothers in town often brought their teenaged daughters to view before they started dating. Beware of love that was dishonest and disloyal, love that would lie to you and trick you, love that could break you and condemn you to sorrow, love that could never be trusted. If Maria Owens had been less rash, she might have realized that when you curse another, you curse yourself as well. Curses are like knots, the more you struggle to be free, the tighter they become, whether they’re made of rope or spite or desperation. Maria invoked an enchantment to protect the generations to follow, with her daughters’ and great-granddaughters’ best interests at heart. For their own safety, they must avoid love. Those who failed to abide by this rule would find that engagements would be tragic, and marriages would end with funerals. Over the years, many of those in the Owens family had found ways to outwit the curse, al- ways an intricate and risky endeavor. All the same, a person could trick fate if she dared, she could change her name, never admit her love, skip a legal union, vanish from view, or, for those who were careless and wild, simply plunge in and hope for the best, knowing that sooner or later everyone had to face her own destiny.