“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…”
-Synopsis from back of the book
*light spoilers ahead*
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is a book I have been tangentially aware of for years. I knew that there was a movie by the same name, but didn’t realize it was based on this book. A few months ago, I heard that The Book of Magic was coming out, which is the second book in this series. My interest was reignited and I decided it was finally time to read Practical Magic so I bumped it up to the top of my to-read list.
I’m so glad that I did! I loved everything about this book. The writing is so lyrical and concise and the story so compelling. We meet Gillian and Sally and before we know it, we are watching them grow up with their magical aunts and we get to see their lives progress from young adulthood into adulthood. The aunts are pretty mysterious throughout the book, and the focus is mostly on Gillian and Sally, how they cope with magic surrounding their lives, how they try to escape it and ultimately learn to embrace it.
Every time I sat down to read this for just a few minutes, it turned into longer because I kept getting swept away by the story. You know the book is good when you completely lose track of time while reading.
“Always keep mint on your windowsill in August, to ensure that buzzing flies will stay outside, where they belong. Don’t think the summer is over, even when roses droop and turn brown and the stars shift position in the sky. Never presume August is a safe or reliable time of the year. It is the season of reversals, when the birds no longer sing in the morning and the evenings are made up of equal parts golden light and black clouds. The rock-solid and tenuous can easily exchange places until everything you know can be questioned and put into doubt.”from Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
I ended up listening to the second half of the book via audiobook through my library, and the narrator was wonderful. However, I’m glad that I have a physical copy because I know that I will read this again someday.
Practical Magic was the perfect seasonal read with the right amounts of witchy, whimsical, and magical. I would highly recommend it to those looking for a Fall read, or those who enjoy family sagas particularly those that chronicle sisterhood.