Get a free audiobook

The Rules of Magic

Written by: Alice Hoffman
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her best seller Practical Magic.

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the '60s, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood-red hair; shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people's thoughts; and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start, Susanna sets down rules for her children. No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And, most importantly, never, ever fall in love. But when her children visit their aunt Isabelle in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City, each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered and sometimes feared aunts in Practical Magic while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

©2017 Alice Hoffman (P)2017 Simon & Schuster

What the critics say

"This audiobook, narrated by Marin Ireland, is an enchanting performance of a charming story.... Unlike some performers, Ireland doesn't focus on creating extremely distinct voices for each character; instead, she provides a perfect match for author Hoffman's creative style, which is warm and lyrical. Ireland speaks clearly, enunciating every word, and reads at a smooth pace." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow. That’s it, wow!

You know, I was a big fan of the movie Practical Magic. I’ve hesitated reading a prequel because everyone knows they are rarely good. I was recently in our local bookstore looking for inspiration on something new to listen to. The staff members pick their favourites reads and The Rules of Magic was presented as a staff recommendation.

What a good choice. I was hooked from the first five minutes. The story of the three Owens siblings had me entranced. Their relationships with each other and their struggles with being different their entire life touched something inside. I was completely part of their story and part of their world.

Take a chance, you will enjoy The Rules of Magic. Happy anniversary Audible.ca #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Growing up, Magic & Cursed in Love?

I enjoyed this story of 3 siblings & the story of how they grew up during the 1950s to the 1970s with some magical twists. This is a prequel to the book "Practical Magic" and it tells the stories of the aunts & their brother as they grew up.

The story asks if the Owens are really cursed when it comes to love & explores the theme of love, familial & romantic. I thought the narrator did a good job.

Although I found some of the characters decisions frustrating at times, I really enjoyed this story about the bonds of family, magic & love.

#Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sweet

Light summer read with interesting (albeit predictable) plot twists. If you like Alice Hoffman books you will enjoy this one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

I was always a fan of the movie Practical Magic, and had no idea it was based on a book series. This book, the background story of the two aunts, was so captivating. It made my morning commutes bearable. In fact - some days, I WISHED for more traffic so I could listen longer ;) #Audible1

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I LOVED this one... 1960s New York! Witches! Love!

I loved this one! I haven't read Practical Magic since I was in high school, but I have probably seen the (not entirely book-faithful) film adaptation dozens of times. This prequel was perfect! Full of magic, not just in the spells and curses, but also in the settings so real, you can almost taste them. I wish I could dive into the NYC of Hoffman's Owens siblings.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love the backstory!

Marin's voice was a pleasure to listen to! Was eagerly waiting for this prequel and was not disappointed. Hoffman brought so many things to light that I wish Practical Magic had touched on, in the movie as well as the book. But I get it wasn't about the aunts in that one. Honestly hope Hoffman writes another installment with the owens family, maybe Marie's story?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

review of Magic

The narration was perfect. would love a sequel as the family continues.. A little slow in the beginning but danced along once I was into it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An enchanting story.

You will fall in love with these characters. Franny and Jet will seem like the family and their pains and triumph will become yours. But, this isn't a story about witches and magic. It's a story about the lives of two girls who happen to be witches.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply Magical

You will laugh out loud, cry, and wish the book would never end. I love everything about Alice Hoffman's writing. She is truly gifted.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

A touching, beautiful, well written story! I loved every moment of this book amd was genuinely sad when it was over! #Audible1

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • just4now
  • 2017-11-15

Great book, not so great narrator

I was looking forward to this prequel and it's as good as I expected it to be so far.
But I can't stand this narrator. The "voices" she uses for the characters are terrible and one in particular she mumbles. I listen in the car on my commute and even at full volume I can't make out a lot of the dialog.
I might give up on this one and reserve a print copy from the local library.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mel
  • 2017-11-17

Darkly Fun and Bitterweet


It seems I'm one of the few women in North America that hasn't previously read Practical Magic, but if seeing what Hollywood and an A-list of actresses can do to a novel carries any weight, kudos to me for having seen the movie. Irrelevant, other than the fact that the whole atmosphere Hoffman has created, the oddly charming characters and their witch-y lineage from the 1620's was (and is) quirky fun that quickly has you letting go of the confines of logic and reality and drifting along in an enjoyable, well-written story of a family bound together as much by love as DNA, potions and spells.

In my case, Magical Realism is parking a stool on thin ice and sitting down to read. But I read this in October, the month I entertain the possibility of witches among us. I think I'll add Practical Magic to my Wish List for next October, which makes perfect sense since this is the prequel.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kimberly Peterson
  • 2017-10-17

Terrible narration

I love Alice Hoffman...have for years. I was thrilled to see another on the way and pre-ordered this book. I am currently on chapter 3 and had to stop to write this. The narration is awful. It's unfeeling, dull and any attempts at character personalization fall flat. I hate this person who is ruining my usually enthralled, enlightened Alice Hoffman experience. Mystical detail and rich character development are Hoffman staples! Why are you ruining them with your boring, monotone delivery?! I will keep listening in the hopes the story becomes so enticing I won't notice her snore-fest.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • JCH
  • 2017-10-26

Enjoyable but no substance

Alice Hoffman's writing is always excellent, but there is very little plot in this novel. I liked the characters and their various storylines, but they suffered from a lack of anything to do or any real dramatic crisis. I also felt the voice of the narrator chosen for the audio book was not correct for these characters, and she relied too heavily on using snarky, obnoxious voices for the teenagers.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rita Lyons
  • 2017-11-13

Not What I Expected

I anticipated an escapist journey into the world of wand-waving witches and wizards, replete with bubbling cauldrons. Instead, I discovered a charming, tender and often funny story of three young adults and their journey into self-discovery and adulthood. Marin Ireland's narration is spot-on and brought the story to life. I now intend to listen to every Audible production of Alice Hoffman's books - I'm hooked.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bronwyn Soell
  • 2017-12-14

A satisfying and magical story

Ever wonder about the aunts in Practical Magic? Wonder no more-the Owens sisters and their brother and cousin come of age in 1960s NYC. The narration is charming and really captured the feeling of the era while keeping things magical. If you liked Practical Magic, this story of Franny and Jet when they were young witches will enchant you. I want more Owens family books!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Melissa
  • 2017-11-13

Captivating

I adore Alice Hoffman books - this one did not disappoint. It was captivating and I couldn't wait to get my earbuds in! "Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry"

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jayfur
  • 2017-10-30

Loved it!

The narrator made this story even better. It was so good, I listened to it again right after I finished it the first time.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Athinatl
  • 2017-10-25

Pass on this

This novel feels like a filler, trying to ride on popularity of Practical Magic. Difficult to finish and characters not compelling. And the narrator is truly dreadful!


17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • 2017-11-12

Hard to hear

The narration needs to have the volume equalized. She would whisper and I'd lean forward to hear, and then she would be real loud and blast my eardrums. Not as bad with earbuds. But I really enjoyed the story.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful