The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman, Marin Ireland

I read Practical Magic a million years ago (1996 maybe) and remember almost nothing about it besides the fact that I pretty much loved and adored everything about it. I didn’t obsessively write reviews for everything I read back then so I may need to reread it someday to see if this still holds true. This is the prequel. You do not have to have read Practical Magic in order to love and adore The Rules of Magic. I listened on audio and did not take notes and simply enjoyed every word. 

Susanna moved out of Massachusetts as soon as she was able. She landed in NY and was diligent about making sure her kids had a normal life and stayed away from certain things like Oujia boards, cats, moonlit nights, red shoes and true love. Especially true love. Finding or seeking love would doom them, she promised. Of course the kids do the exact opposite. When Susanna’s oldest daughter receives a formal invitation to spend the summer at her childhood home with her two younger siblings she tells them they can go but strongly advises against it. She claims, very ominously, that they will never be the same if they leave and visit their aunt and learn all the family secrets she’s been keeping from them! 

Susanna handled this all wrong, if you ask me. Were I her, I would’ve told the kids that auntie was a mean old hag who would lock them in the basement for the summer and feed them rats. Of course they go. I mean, wouldn’t you? Franny, Jet and Vincent spend the summer released from all of the rules and restrictions their parents usually inflict upon them. They can eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want and as long as “they do no harm” they are free to be themselves. They revel in it and start snooping into their heritage and learning all about their inherited magical abilities. And, just as their Mamma forecasted, none of them will ever be the same.

See, they’ve inherited more than magic. A terrible curse will plague them throughout their lives. The curse of true love. Mamma wasn't lying.

This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking book about the three siblings as they grow from teens to adults and do their best to avoid love and the grief that accompanies love. In the process, they fill their lives with sorrow.

“I’m fated to lose everyone I ever love”

“Of course you are. That’s what it means to be alive.”

Reading this is like free falling into another world. It’s a truly magical experience and I highly recommend it. I hated leaving the characters when it was all over and that so rarely happens that I’m giving it all the stars. 

The audio narrated by Marin Ireland is the way to go if you enjoy audio. She’s excellent and a pleasure to listen to.