CBR Bingo – I LOVE THIS
This is the first time I am participating in Cannonball Read Bingo and I am ALL IN BABY. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to swing a blackout by the end of October but my personal goal is to fill out the whole thing by the end of the year. Let’s do this thing!
And what fun to review Alice Hoffman for my first Bingo pick! She has been one of my favorite authors since high school and I have been eagerly and nervously anticipating the prequel to the beloved Practical Magic. The last book I read by her, Skylight Confessions, I didn’t love and during my review reflected that Hoffman seemed much the same (that novel was from 2007) and maybe it was I who had changed. Perhaps my tastes had changed and she was no longer one of my favorites? I’m glad to report that was not the case: I really enjoyed this book!
For those that are familiar with the book Practical Magic, or the delightful film starring Sandra Bullock as Sally and Nicole Kidman as Gillian, this novel takes us back when the aunts of Bullock and Kidman (played by Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest) are young. We learn the backstory of Aunt Frances and Aunt Jet, and learn more of the rich history of the Owens family. We see sparks of the aunts who already know and what will be, their powers already on display, but having read the book (or seen the movie) you have a unique vantage point? How did the aunts come to live in the house, practicing witchcraft? And, more importantly, whatever happened to Vincent, their brother, who isn’t even in Practical Magic?
It’s always a challenge to reboot or revisit beloved material, and Hoffman does so deftly. The whimsical spirit of the first book is captured with Hoffman signature tone of darkness tempered with hope, and we learn much more about beloved characters, while still staying true to them. It’s been a hot minute since I read Practical Magic, so I’m interested in how I’d feel giving that another go, but I’m going to be enthusiastically recommending anyone who likes Hoffman, liked Practical Magic, or could use a bit of magic in their summer.