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Publisher's Summary

From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her best seller Practical Magic.

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the '60s, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood-red hair; shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people's thoughts; and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start, Susanna sets down rules for her children. No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And, most importantly, never, ever fall in love. But when her children visit their aunt Isabelle in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City, each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered and sometimes feared aunts in Practical Magic while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

©2017 Alice Hoffman (P)2017 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Darkly Fun and Bitterweet


It seems I'm one of the few women in North America that hasn't previously read Practical Magic, but if seeing what Hollywood and an A-list of actresses can do to a novel carries any weight, kudos to me for having seen the movie. Irrelevant, other than the fact that the whole atmosphere Hoffman has created, the oddly charming characters and their witch-y lineage from the 1620's was (and is) quirky fun that quickly has you letting go of the confines of logic and reality and drifting along in an enjoyable, well-written story of a family bound together as much by love as DNA, potions and spells.

In my case, Magical Realism is parking a stool on thin ice and sitting down to read. But I read this in October, the month I entertain the possibility of witches among us. I think I'll add Practical Magic to my Wish List for next October, which makes perfect sense since this is the prequel.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Not What I Expected

I anticipated an escapist journey into the world of wand-waving witches and wizards, replete with bubbling cauldrons. Instead, I discovered a charming, tender and often funny story of three young adults and their journey into self-discovery and adulthood. Marin Ireland's narration is spot-on and brought the story to life. I now intend to listen to every Audible production of Alice Hoffman's books - I'm hooked.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

The narrator made this story even better. It was so good, I listened to it again right after I finished it the first time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Magic, insight, loss, and moving on.

When Alice Hoffman gets it right, it's magic. If you're a lover of Practical Magic, listen to this book. I'll be listening to it many times I'm sure. I love the way she writes about magic, and she doesn't hide from the truth of life and the price we pay for love. The narrator did an excellence job. Vincent was my favorite and I thought his story was beautiful. Her mix of fiction and history was well done and I'm grateful for the chance to take another ride with the Owen's family.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Audiobooks hit or miss

This book was really awoke some sort of young fangirl in me; I loved Practical Magic so much I forgave it's quirks and did so with The Rules of Magic.

If you read any Francesca Lia Block as a teenager (I'm a millennial) you will love this new novel by Alice Hoffman.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, not so great narrator

I was looking forward to this prequel and it's as good as I expected it to be so far.
But I can't stand this narrator. The "voices" she uses for the characters are terrible and one in particular she mumbles. I listen in the car on my commute and even at full volume I can't make out a lot of the dialog.
I might give up on this one and reserve a print copy from the local library.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Melissa
  • BLUFFDALE, UT, United States
  • 11-13-17

Captivating

I adore Alice Hoffman books - this one did not disappoint. It was captivating and I couldn't wait to get my earbuds in! "Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hard to hear

The narration needs to have the volume equalized. She would whisper and I'd lean forward to hear, and then she would be real loud and blast my eardrums. Not as bad with earbuds. But I really enjoyed the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Spellbinding

Alice Hoffman has always been one of my favorite authors, and this story is my favorite of all she has created. The characters are so vividly drawn and the narrative so compelling, with lovely narration, that I will listen to it again and give hardcopies as gifts to my sisters and mother.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic Book

I recall having watched the Practical Magic movie years ago and while I don't recall the details of the movie per se - I definitely was interested when I heard about this book.

It does a fantastic job balancing the real world with a world of magic. It touches upon themes of human life in a way that is at once fantastic and also elegant in its magic.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful