When I think of October and the spooky season, my mind goes straight to witches. I've always had a soft spot for witches ever since I was young, and I find stories about them fascinating. I'm also a big fan of Practical Magic, so obviously when I heard about Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman taking us back to the very beginning of the Owen's family line and their curse, I was sold. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!
|Pub Date: 10-6-20|
Adult - Fantasy
The Owens' women weren't always cursed when it comes to love, so how did it begin? Back in 1600's England, Maria is abandoned as a baby in a snowy field and taken in by a woman named Hannah Owens. Hannah does her best to raise the child and recognizes a certain power in Maria so she begins to teach her the ways of the Unnamed Arts. During this time, Maria is taught many things, with the most important lesson being to always love someone who will love you back. After Hannah's death, Maria is sent to live on a faraway island as a maid to a wealthy family. Here, she falls for John Hathorne, a man that she believes truly loves her, but one day, he abandons her, too.
When Maria finds herself with child, she decides to cross the seas to follow this man to Salem, Massachusetts. On her journey, she meets Samuel Dias, a man unlike any other, but despite the feelings they both share, Maria refuses to give in. When she gets to Salem, she discovers that John had a family of his own and wants nothing to do with Maria or their child. Heartbroken and with no one to turn to, Maria seeks shelter in an old cabin and sets about making a home there for her and her daughter, making remedies and helping the local women who come to her door at night. Soon, Maria is charged with witchcraft and sentenced to hang by none other than John himself. On the morning of her hanging, thinking her life is over, Maria calls out a curse that will change the lives of all Owens women to come. But when she's rescued by Samuel, her true love, she must face the consequences of her rash decision.
Ever since watching Practical Magic for the first time, I've always been intrigued by the curse on the Owens family. Why does something terrible and tragic always happen to the men they fall in love with? Well, this beautifully lush story finally answered all my questions. Maria is such an interesting character to follow. She goes through so many ups and downs and betrayals, but she never truly lets the darkness engulf her. As fascinating as Maria is, her daughter, Faith, is even more so. Both women go through many hardships, and the way they each handle those trials and tribulations take them down vastly different paths, but they always come back to one another. Hoffman blends love, revenge, family, and the wonders of magic to make a completely captivating story. This is a very dense book, and there were moments where I found myself thinking, "Man, this is LONG," but overall, I really enjoyed it.