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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 listeners say about The Rules of Magic

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

3 people found this helpful

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Sweet

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

2 people found this helpful

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Boring!

I know many people really liked this book and I can only say that it must be an acquired taste. I find the story boring. After 3 hours of listening it doesn’t have any appeal. Nothing has happened. I could take it or leave it. I’m actually going to leave it. Not enjoyable for me and I am a big Audible fan. I’m going cut my losses (in time) and move on.

1 person found this helpful

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Cheesy

Enjoyed listening to the narrator but the story was simplistic, predictable and cheesy. Seemed interesting at first but difficult to finish. Good book to listen to at bedtime.

1 person found this helpful

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Good grief. Love the narrator though.

This book reads like a fan fiction of the movie. I loved the movie but thought the Practical Magic book was a bit of a harlequin mess. This prequel is worst. I have never rolled my eyes so hard at some parts. The only things that got me through it was the narrator. She is absolutely incredible. loved her voice, hated the words she was reading.

1 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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Not a good book

Poorly developed characters, the story felt pointless, random information given and then completely forgotten about.
Many many plot holes based on prior information.
If you’re having second thoughts about 20 minutes in, know it doesn’t get any better.

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Magical

Loved every bit of this magical story. I will definitely reading the others in this series.

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Loved every minute of this book.

I loved every minute listening to this book, I was sad when it was over. The person reading it did a great job, and pulled me into every character.
I will be listening to the other books in the series and checking out Alice Hoffman's other books.

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  • Laura75
  • 2017-11-27

I’ll have to actually read it

Ugh this narrator. She’s pretty awful. It’s like she’s trying to channel Claire Danes and that’s not a good thing. And thus it’s really hard to tell if the writing is actually as bad as it sounds. She’s so one note it all seems so unimportant and repetitive. And I need Hoffman to get a thesaurus to find a word instead of “said”.

So, meh. Save your credit and just read this one. It’s probably better.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2018-03-15

The Rules of Magic

Perhaps it was just me. I have never returned a book before...probably should have on some occasions but felt guilty about doing so. I did not feel any empathy with ANY of the characters.

15 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

61 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

23 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

43 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 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!

17 people found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 2017-12-05

Am I reading the same book as everyone else?!

This book is awful! I'm blown away by all the positive reviews. The story is childish and thrown together with little to no character development. The writing was sloppy and callow. The narrator's voices for the characters were obnoxious. I made it about 3 hours through this story and I'm finally calling it quits.

26 people found this helpful

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  • 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.

49 people found this helpful

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  • 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"

15 people found this helpful

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  • Julie Fay
  • 2019-12-17

disappointed

I expected to love this. I didn't. Probably should have read hard copy rather than listening to it.