The Sorceresses’ Amanuensis

Alice Hoffman on the conclusion of the Practical Magic series


Alice Hoffman’s 1995 novel, Practical Magic, is the story of two sisters, Sally and Gillian Owens, who are born into a family of witches. The catch is that their ancestor, Maria Owens, cursed the family, so that any man one of them falls in love with dies an untimely death. It’s a classic fairy tale, and like most fairy tales it didn’t have a sequel—until this year. After going back to the 1960s generation of the family with The Rules of Magic, and all the way back to the 1600s with Magic Lessons, Hoffman returns this year to the present with the fourth and final story of the Owens family, The Book of Magic, which sees the youngest Owens, Kylie, maybe—finally—break the curse for good.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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