cover image The Book of Magic

The Book of Magic

Alice Hoffman. Simon & Schuster, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-982151-48-5

Hoffman concludes her Practical Magic series about the Owens family women, cursed by 17th-century ancestor Maria, with an illuminating story of their inherited witchcraft. In present-day Massachusetts, octogenarian Jet Owens sees the death watch beetle, a sign that she has seven days to live. She pulls The Book of the Raven from her library—a “dark spell-book” that had corrupted Maria’s daughter, Faith. The book contains the secret for how to end the family curse, which has caused the men they fall in love with to die, and its discovery sets off a series of cataclysmic events. Hoffman focuses primarily on Jet’s niece, Sally, who quashed her magical powers, and Sally’s daughters Kylie and Antonia, from whom Sally hid the family’s unusual heritage. After Kylie’s fiancée, Gideon, has a life-threatening car accident, she learns about the curse and travels to London where the book was made, in search of answers that could save Gideon. Meanwhile, Antonia, a lesbian, is pregnant and plans to raise the baby with a gay couple, one of whom is the father. Hoffman runs through the Owens family history over the centuries, and though the accounts of bloodlines and varied relationships can be confusing, the story brims with bewitching encounters and suspenseful conflicts revolving around good magic versus bad magic. Hoffman brings satisfying closure to the Owens saga. (Oct.)