Practical Magic

Practical Magic

by Alice Hoffman


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The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Rules of Magic and The World That We Knew.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic...

“Splendid...Practical Magic is one of [Hoffman's] best novels, showing on every page her gift for touching ordinary life as if with a wand, to reveal how extraordinary life really is.”—Newsweek 

“[A] delicious fantasy of witchcraft and love in a world where gardens smell of lemon verbena and happy endings are possible.”—Cosmopolitan



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425190371
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/05/2003
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 14,003
Product dimensions: 4.94(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We KnewThe Rules of Magic, Practical MagicThe Marriage of OppositesThe Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on EarthThe Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

March 16, 1952

Place of Birth:

New York, New York


B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974

Read an Excerpt

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in town. If a damp spring arrived, if cows in the pasture gave milk that was runny with blood, if a colt died of colic or a baby was born with a red birthmark stamped onto his cheek, everyone believed that fate must have been twisted, at least a little, by those women over on Magnolia Street. It didn’t matter what the problem was—lightning, or locusts, or a death by drowning. It didn’t matter if the situation could be explained by logic, or science, or plain bad luck. As soon as there was a hint of trouble or the slightest misfortune, people began pointing their fingers and placing blame. Before long they’d convinced themselves that it wasn’t safe to walk past the Owens house after dark, and only the most foolish neighbors would dare to peer over the black wrought-iron fence that circled the yard like a snake.

Excerpted from "Practical Magic"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Alice Hoffman.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A beautiful, moving book about the power of love and the desires of the heart."-Denver Post

"Charmingly told, and a good deal of fun." -New York Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Practical Magic 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 240 reviews.
1Katherine1 More than 1 year ago
On the surface this is enjoyable enough-- a great, fun romance story full of all the the right classic ingredients. Then add a smidgen of mystery and a ghost. Finish it off with the all-powerful themes of love, sisterhood, and family, all written with Hoffman's dreamy prose. Simply, this book is an addiction, gorgeous and well-plotted with fantastic characters and development. If you're a hopeless romantic looking for a very real story with just a touch of magic, this is it.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
Being a big Alice Hoffman fan, I enjoyed this one. it has a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
kaydanielle More than 1 year ago
I just finished re-reading. I think it was even better the second time, though I dont know if that is even possible. This story is relatable for everyone - from a 16 year old girl like me, to an adult. There are so many twists and turns as you follow the lives of two sisters. It is magical and mysterious and it is incredibly realistic. Every time I read it I cry because of how the story touches me. Hoffman writes like no other. Must read.
Volligtoll More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book was much better than I expected it to be. I saw the movie awhile ago and really liked it and it really isn't anything like the book. Hoffman's writing style takes alittle getting used to but it works very well. This is an amazing story of love in all it's forms and you really fall for all the characters in it. I only wish the aunts had been in it more, I really liked their characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And this is one of the best. A little quirky, a little sad, a little magic...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never watched the movie, but many people told me it was great. So instead I picked up the book. This was a cute and heart-felt book. Teaches the importance of family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't read to many good books lately and I was about to give up, but I thought one more wouldn't hurt, and now I'm hooked. 'Practical Magical' was so enchanting and had so many emotions I couldn't put it down until I was done with it. It was one of the first books I've read of Alice Hoffman and I'm hoping the other books she has writen are as magical and moving as this one here.
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
The author of this book personally told me that the book differed quite a bit from the movie, and she wasn’t exaggerating. That is the reason I read it. The movie is one of my favorites. In the novel, the story focuses a lot more on the third generation, Sally’s daughters. They really only appear as children in the movie. Although, I love Alice’s books, in some ways, I liked the movie version better. It is so well done. However, it was great to read the book, because for me it expanded and deepened the story. I recommend it for everyone, whether or not you are a fan of the popular movie. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the way Alice Hoffman blends reality, fantasy, and romance in the story. I have read the book so many times I've lost count. The affection and sympathy she has for her characters is also a help for the story. The way the book goes from one timeline to another is very well done. Truly, one of my favorites of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book numerous times. There is no other writer who can create magic with her words as well as Alice Hoffman can. This is truly an outstanding novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book, I loaned it to a friend of mine- who loaned to someone else and so on.. . I would love to read it again. Its one of those books that get better each time you read it. I guess I need to buy a new copy. I really recommend it. Its one of my all time favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the prequel "The Rules of Magic" first & loved it. So I decided to read "Practical Magic" (though I saw the movie many years ago ). It's different from the film, but it's also magical. Alice Hoffman's language is lyrical & her settings are atmospheric. Her characters are unique. Love the aunts! Look for the animals woven into the story-- swans and cats and frogs and birds and rabbits and buzzing, clicking insects. The garden The book explores the wonder and pain of growing up and the struggle for self-acceptance, especially difficult for a young witch. Drama and romance with a dash of humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was fun to read. I have read this authors book before and have liked them very much. Interesting strong women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her books are delightful and definitely magical!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading and thoroughly enjoyable. Magic begins with believing and fall for this magic and you will believe!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I await the prequel eagerly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lexa_stone More than 1 year ago
Alice Hoffman is a master of magic realism as a genre. Her characters provide both intrigue and delight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think hat the author did a great job portraying believable magic intertwined with a wonderful storyabout family and relationships. I thouroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly!
VirtualVixen More than 1 year ago
Not my usual read, I got through this and it was ok. Kind of lost myself in it at times and had to trudge through to more exciting parts. Overall not bad, but def not something i would read more than once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much! It had so much in it. The story line was really interesting and I adored the characters. It's not really like the movie but that was ok. Usually I would get mad that the movie is different than the book but I love both equally! I would recomend it highly! Read it and enjoy!
Tamara87 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Alice Hoffman is great at conveying magical realism. This book sparked my interest in reading more of that particular genre. This book is invigorating and exciting. It also tells a lot about human nature and relationships. This is not your typical romance or sisterly bond novel. It is filled with realism with a hint of magic and mystery hence the genre, magical realism.
DaniHall More than 1 year ago
i was livened up by this book. i found it very touching, very well written & beautifully told. anyone who has a sister would love to read this book! the characters were wonderfully portrayed
Guest More than 1 year ago
Honestly, this is one of my favorite books. I recommend it to as many girlfriends of mine that I can because I loved it so much. The description is excellent, and the very plot is outstanding. So much better than the movie. Go read it, now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read. Perhaps it is lacking in something that's rather hard to pinpoint... it seems as if these characters have appeared in every one of Hoffman's books, like she has some kind of archetypical system. Nonetheless, "Practical Magic" is a great novel that displays Hoffman's talent for depth within simplicity.