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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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November 2017 Book of the Month

As so often happens when a book is filmed as this is, there is far greater detail on the page than on the screen, here perhaps more than most. In its recently written prequel, The Rules of Magic, which follows the lives of the wacky aunts Jet and Fran, we are only introduced to these sisters who dominate this story, Gillian and Sally, towards the end of that book. Here, in this original classic published in 1995, we get their story. Unlike the film (which is wonderful) the troubles Sally has bringing up her teenage daughters as a single mum, is extensively handled. Sadly the aunts are rather in the background and Gillian’s love interest comes in late too. If you have not read this and only seen the film then I urge you to do so but read The Rules of Magic first since you now can. Both books and the film are enchanting, highly recommended. Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Alice Hoffman you might also like to read books by Kathryn Harrison, Anita Diamant and Tracy Chevalier.


The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Everyone needs a little magic in their lives...

The Rules of Magic is the long-awaited prequel to Practical Magic, to date Alice Hoffman's biggest selling novel and a major Hollywood film. In this sparkling prequel we meet sisters Frances and Jet and Vincent, their brother. From the beginning their mother Susanna knew they were unique: Franny with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, who could commune with birds; Jet as shy as she is beautiful, who knows what others are thinking, and Vincent so charismatic that he was built for trouble.

Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles and certainly, absolutely, no books about magic... But the Owens siblings are desperate to uncover who they really are. Each heads down a life-altering course, filled with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, and magic and love. Despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries - Know that for our family, love is a curse - they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

Praise for Alice Hoffman:

`Like her contemporaries, Carol Shields and Alice Munro, Hoffman has an acute eye for detail... she writes with heartbreaking clarity' The Times

`Alice Hoffman is simply brilliant'Daily Mail

'Many novels are called stunning , but this one truly is: part love story, part mystery , part history, and all beautiful' Jodi Picoult on The Museum of Extraordinary Things


`Alice Hoffman's fictionalised biography of Rachel Pizzarro's life is an evocative, sensitive and historically rich portrayal of a woman living ahead of her time' * The Observer on The Marriage of Opposites *

`Hoffman is a master of evocatively described places . . . This captivating novel transports the reader to a sensual world of lush tropical landscapes, colonial opulence and conflicted passions' * The Lady on The Marriage of Opposites *

`What is it that makes American authors excel at depicting marriage? Alice Hoffman's The Marriage of Opposites is one of the best novels on the subject . . . not least because the opposites of its title embrace not just gender but race, class and religion . . . Hoffman's sensuous prose is ideally suited to describing the landscape . . . As intoxicating as the finest island rum' * Independent on The Marriage of Opposites *

About the Author

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of eighteen acclaimed novels, including The Ice Queen, Practical Magic, Here on Earth, The River King, Blue Diary, Illumination Night, Turtle Moon, Seventh Heaven, and At Risk. She lives in Massachusetts.

Photograph © Deborah Feingold

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd November 2017


Alice Hoffman

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Simon & Schuster Ltd


384 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Books Behind TV & Film
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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