The origin story that every Practical Magic fan has been waiting for! Sarah Owens is the author of the family grimoire, the blue journal, and the infamous curse that haunts generations of Owens women. Born in England in the 1600s, Sarah's world is full of nature and magic, healing and helping others. It's also a world of carefully guarded secrets where most people are fearful, superstitious, and often violent; and certainly a woman who can read and write is not to be trusted. In "these dreadful times when a woman couldn't walk down the street without fear of being accused of misdoings," Sarah finds solace in the kindness and empathy of magic. She escapes England, first for the tropics, then to the New World, settling in Salem, where the tension in this Puritan settlement is just about to bubble over into something much more evil and dangerous. Fans of Alice Hoffman are already familiar with the legacy of Sarah Owens; her long-awaited history does not disappoint. Best enjoyed curled up under a cozy blanket with your familiar and a cup of chamomile tea. #Cottagecore
October 2020 Indie Next List
“I so wanted to read this slowly and savor every page since this may be the last time we get to venture into this world of magic and the Owens family. But as if entranced by Alice Hoffman’s magic, the pages were turning faster and faster and I devoured this book in two sittings. No one tells a story like Alice Hoffman, and I only hope she finds a way to bring this magical family back to us again in the future. I simply loved this book. It’s everything you want from Alice Hoffman — a great story of love and magic!”
— Julie Slavinsky, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA
Winter 2022 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Pure magic. We meet Maria, the matriarch of the Owens family. We get a firsthand account of her life, her love story, and the beginning of the Owens family curse. You don’t have to have read Practical Magic or Rules of Magic to enjoy this gem.”
— Liberty Goldstein, Title Wave Books (NM), Albuquerque, NM
In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.
Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Nameless Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Book of Magic, Magic Lessons, The World That We Knew, Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, the Oprah’s Book Club Selection Here on Earth, The Red Garden, The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, and Faithful. She lives near Boston.
"Storytelling is in Hoffman’s bones, and the skill with which she dispenses information and compresses time, so that a year passes in a sentence, so that a tragedy witnessed becomes the propeller for a hundred-page subplot, is (forgive me) bewitching. My current reality feels chaotic and confusing; to have a narrator take my hand and tell me that linden root and yarrow will cure a racing heart, that witches turn silver dull with their touch, is an undiluted pleasure... Hoffman’s book swept me away during a time I most needed it." —New York Times Book Review
"Hoffman writes deftly, and often beautifully, about nature, and she can plot like, well, a witch, casting a spell on her reader to flip pages, reading ahead for plot twists... Magic Lessons is a compelling reminder of the past, which as it turns out, is not distant enough from the present.” —Boston Globe
"A gorgeous new novel you won't want to miss" — Bustle
"Vivid and enchanting, with a can’t-miss-it foray into the Salem Witch Trials, Magic Lessons is another sublime entry in an arresting series." — Esquire
“In Hoffman’s luminous prose, all characters, even the villains, are not only vividly, but also compassionately, rendered... Hoffman adeptly highlights that how one uses a talent, selflessly or selfishly, has a sweeping impact on many lives, meaning that one should always choose courage, and that love is the only answer.” —Booklist
"Hoffman offers an eye-opening account of how single women were treated in the 17th century, particularly when their knowledge or intelligence was deemed threatening. [This] page-turning adventure is thoroughly enjoyable. Hoffman’s redemptive story of a fiercely independent woman adds an engrossing, worthwhile chapter to the series." —Publisher's Weekly
"Calling all Alice Hoffman stans. Along the way, [Magic Lessons] shows us how smart, independent women were treated in the 17th century. Don't miss it." —theSkimm
"Full of wonderfully strong women, fascinating history and a plot that doesn't stop spinning, this book is a treat." —AARP Magazine
"Mysterious, magical and with important lessons about love and life, I cannot wait for it!” —Parade
"Heartbreaking and heart-healing…intense and gorgeous…This is an impressive tale, equal parts love story, history, and horror….The whole thing is absolutely riveting and riveting from start to finish.” — BookPage
"A very emotional, mystical, engaging read. The characters in this novel are brilliantly drawn with Hoffman’s skillful writing... It is a magical read." — The Free Lance–Star