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Practical Magic Books In Order

Publication Order of Practical Magic Books

Practical Magic (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Rules of Magic (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Practical Magic is a series of paranormal romance novels written by Alice Hoffman. The books follow the exploits of two witches, sisters who keep trying and failing to break away from their magical lineage.

+The Story
Most people struggle to categorize the Practical Magic series. The novels deal with witches and magic, so words like ‘fantasy’, ‘paranormal’, and ‘supernatural’ would definitely fit the bill.

But the magic on display in the stories that Alice Hoffman tells is quite subtle, so much so that one would be hard pressed to call these fantasy novels. Additionally, a lot of emphases is placed on the romance and the family drama that plays out between the characters.

Regardless of what anyone chooses to call these books, one cannot deny Practical Magic’s persisting popularity. The first novel in the series was published in 1995 to great fan fair.

But its sequel took more than two decades to finally see the light of day, and yet Alice Hoffman’s fans were no less enthusiastic to return to the world that the first Practical magic novel introduced.

These novels tell the stories of the Owens family. Back in the 1600s, Maria Owens fell for the wrong man. The affair finally ended when Maria was accused of witchcraft. Before her demise, Maria cast a spell that would doom every man who would ever fall for an Owens woman to a quick and horrible death.

Maria saw love and romance as the enemy and she gave Frannie and Jet little choice in the matter. Growing up in the 1960s, the girls had to fight tooth and nail to protect their hearts from the love of the men who desired them.

Sometimes they succeeded. But whenever they failed, the consequences that came their way were quite dire. By the time readers meet Frannie and Jet, they are much older.

‘Practical Magic’, the very first novel in the series, doesn’t actually tell their story; it instead drags readers to the present day and adds Sally and Gillian to the equation.

Sally and Gillian grew up well aware of the dark web of suspicion that hovered over their family name. For as long as they could remember, everything that went wrong in their rural Massachusetts town was blamed on the Owens family.

It didn’t matter whether a baby had a suspicious birthmark or if a cow had started producing bloody milk; whenever something out of the ordinary occurred, all the blame fell on the shoulders of the Owens women.

And to an extent, Sally and Gillian’s neighbors couldn’t be blamed for their hostile reactions. Their aunts, Frannie and Jet, did nothing to dissuade suggestions that they were witches.

If anything, they encouraged this talk. Frannie and Jet didn’t care. Sure, their community was quick to condemn them for every failure and hurt that struck the town. But once night fell, every woman with the strength to walk would sneak into the Owens home in search of the magical love potions the sisters brewed.

Frannie and Jet embraced their roles as the resident witches because they saw the way their work changed lives. Sally and Gillian were not quite as receptive, though. Their last name made them outcasts.

And as soon as they were old enough, the sisters took steps to distance themselves from the Owens line. Gillian was the wild one. Wherever she went, men went crazy.

So she ran away from home and began to conquer men’s hearts. Sally was the practical one. At first, she stayed close to home, married a man she loved and conceived two kids. But when her husband died suddenly, Sally also left their hometown.

She found a new residence where she could blend into the community and from there she attempted to raise her daughters in an environment that was free of Magic.

And Sally would have succeeded, except that Gillian’s life eventually imploded and she came knocking, essentially upending Sally’s existence.

The Practical Magic series is spent following the Owens sisters as they finally come to terms with the magic in their blood and the complexities that their lineage adds to their love lives.

These novels have been commended for their charming characters, sweet stories, and the author’s magical writing style.

+Adaptations
The first novel in the practical magic series was adapted into a 1998 romantic comedy film that featured Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. The movie was directed by Griffin Dunne.

+The Author
Alice Hoffman is an American author born in 1952 in New York City. She attended Valley Steam North High and Adelphi University. She wrote her first short story while studying at Stanford. The short story got the attention of an editor who asked her to write a full-length novel.

+Practical Magic
Sally and Gillian know what it means to be ostracized. For centuries, everything that went wrong in their small town was blamed on their family. Their aunts were witches and they did not hide their heritage.

So Sally and Gillian suffered the consequences. And after a while, they decided that they would escape the family name and all the rumors that came with it. Gillian did this by running away. She was always the wild one, going around and breaking men’s hearts, living her life to the fullest.

Sally was far more practical. She decided to marry. Neither of them realized back then that, no matter how far they ran, their bonds would keep drawing them back together.

+The Rules of Magic
In 1620, Maria Owens loved the wrong man and she was charged with witchery as a result. Centuries later, Susanna Owens is doing everything in her power to keep her children safe from the same fate that befell their ancestor.

But they refuse to make things easy for her. And Susanna can tell that Franny, Jet, and Vincent are the farthest thing from ordinary. But that doesn’t mean she is ready to give up on them.

Of all the rules that Susanna has set for her kids, her restrictions on love are the most important. She forbids them from ever giving their hearts away to anyone, not unless they are ready to face the consequences.

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