Review by Megan-
I am currently on my way to New York City to see some family, and finally be reunited with my little sister! Two sisters, no longer diverged! I have never been to Manhattan, so I am bursting to see the hustle and bustle of the city life. I have a long drive ahead, but my brand new Kindle, and all the words I can possibly fill my brain with will keep me company. Emily and I plan to visit Strand bookstore, which claims it houses 18 miles of books! What a dream. We will have an entire week’s worth of blog posts dedicated to our adventures! But onto the best part of being a book blogger: the books!
First, let me just say that I have never read the sequel to this novel, Practical Magic, or even seen the movie for it, although I definitely plan to soon (hello Sandra Bullock!). I had heard great things about this novel, and was wonderfully pleased to get to experience it. Being in school for herbal medicine has given me an extra, lovely inside view of this witchy world filled with love potions and spells, especially since Hoffman included real plants and many of their accurate uses in the novel with a little magical spin on it.
The story is set in New York, 1950s and 60s, in the height of the coming of age. Not only were our characters, Franny, Jet, and Vincent, growing, but also society as a whole. The age of LSD and hippies and one love was upon us and we were growing, looking for the deeper answers to the questions of life. Flying along through this journey with these young magical people was something special, a lesson on the unchanging, yet infinite nature of life.
Love told through the eyes of the Owens siblings hurts. Cursed for hundreds of years by an ancestor whose heart was broken by the man who spearheaded the salem witch trials, they are doomed to never fall in love, lest unfortunate and horrible events befall the ones they love. The three siblings do their best to navigate this treacherous territory, falling in love and falling out. Love hurts, but we still find ways to endure because it is worth it all the same. This story is so beautifully portrayed and multifaceted, exploring all of the different ways that love can be. It can be comfortable, all encompassing, passionate, heart wrenching, and bereaved. We find ways to adapt to our new concept of love, and the Owens siblings do this so well.
Margaret Hoffman is adept at weaving a story so full of mystical realism I practically believe I could be a witch too. I felt the weight of the burdens that the characters endured. I journeyed through time with them, experiencing their lives firsthand, through the flowing words upon the page. My heart broke for each of the siblings in turn. I see a bit of myself in each of the characters, which I think is why I loved them all that much more. The Rules of Magic reveals that the real magic is not in the spells, but has been within us all along.