I saw the movie Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman quite a few years ago. It’s one of those movies that I wanted to be better than it was — it seemed to have so much potential, but it just didn’t work, even with the wonderful Aidan Quinn as Bullock’s love interest.
I have been in the mood lately, Halloween coming up I guess, to read some witch-related books, so even though I didn’t love the movie I had heard good things about the book by Alice Hoffman, so I thought I’d give it a try. I am so glad I did. The book is, from start to finish, a delight. Hoffman tells the story of Sally and Gillian Owens, two orphan sisters that are raised by their eccentric aunts in a wonderfully creaky old family home in Massachusetts. Their aunts, and the girls, too, are looked on with suspicion and fear by their neighbors — but that doesn’t stop the townswomen from showing up at their kitchen door night after night in search of a charm or something that the old ladies can brew up to help their love lives. All through their childhood Sally and Gillian eavesdrop on these goings-on with fascination, while also realizing that this might not be the best atmosphere to grow up with a healthy view of romantic relationships …
Hoffman’s prose is lyrical, and the girls, their aunts, and all the other characters are wonderfully depicted. I really didn’t want it to end. The good news is that Hoffmann recently published a “prequel,” The Rules of Magic, centered around the aunts in their youth. Looking forward to reading that next. She also has a book written about the mother of painter Camille Pissarro, who was the mentor of the French Impressionists — The Marriage of Opposites. That sounds great, too.
You can read more of my reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e