#bookreview Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman published by Scribner


We first met the Owens in the glorious novel Practical Magic. We discovered the tragedy of the Owens siblings in Rules of Magic. Now we learn how it all began… with a baby abandoned in a snowy English field in the 1600s. Under the care of gentle Hannah Owens, little Maria learns about the ‘Unnamed Arts’. Maria has a gift for them – a gift that may well prove her undoing. 

When Maria is abandoned by the man she loves, she invokes the curse that will haunt her family for centuries. Because magic has rules, and they must be followed. This is the lesson that Maria will carry with her for the rest of her life, and pass on to her children and her children’s children.

My reading experience:

This is the origin story of Maria Owens. Filled with magic lore and spells, this richly packed story of four generations of magick women is yet another triumph in the trilogy (so far) of the Owens family. I found the woven history of the witch hunts to be subtle yet powerful, and was nightly impressed with the telling of the stories of the historic grimoires.

By the time the reader meets Hannah Owens, she is already on the other side of a tragedy and living alone. Hannah prefers to go unnoticed but she could not walk away from her discovery of an abandoned baby with a crow watching over it. Maria Owens grows up learning The Nameless Art but Hannah quickly realises she has the mark of a bloodline witch and has magick within her.

It is remarkably telling of a good author that she has packed the rich stories of four powerful women into 395 pages, including tragedy, love, loss, travel and warmth.

I highly recommend this new prequel/origin story from Alice Hoffman.

The trilogy includes:

Magic Lessons …

The Rules of Magic

Practical Magic …


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