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The Book of Magic: A Novel (4) (The Practical Magic Series)
by Alice Hoffman

Published: 2021-10-12T00:0
Hardcover : 400 pages
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The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. ...
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Introduction

The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.

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Excerpt

Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end, but all the best stories begin in a library. It was there that Jet Owens saw her fate in a mirror behind the reference desk. Even in her eighties, Jet was still beautiful. Each day she washed with the black soap the family prepared in March during the dark phase of the moon, with every bar then wrapped in crinkly cellophane. Jet had no aches or pains and had never been ill a day in her life, but fate is fate and it can often be what you least expect it to be. On this day, when the daffodils had begun to bloom, Jet saw that she had seven days to live. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Centuries before the events in The Book of Magic, the Owens family matriarch, Maria Owens, invoked an enchantment meant to protect generations of her family to come. Discuss how the generations within The Book of Magic each deal with the curse and its restrictions. What other legacies did her family inherit?

2. Libraries play a critical role throughout the novel, and the Owens children were taught to find their way to a library if they were ever lost. What are some libraries, literal or otherwise, which have been havens for you? What do you seek out when feeling lost?

3. Sally is fiercely protective of her daughters, and keeps the truth of their magical inheritance and Maria’s curse from them. Do you think Sally had a right to keep the truth from her daughters? How does Sally evolve throughout the novel?

4. In one of Jet’s last messages before passing on she writes, “Everything worthwhile is dangerous.” What does she mean by this? Do you consider this a warning or encouragement?

5. Baking is used throughout the novel as its own form of magic, one that attracts goodwill and loved ones. Margaret welcomes her son home with favorites like ploughman’s pasties and ginger pudding, while the Owenses make pies to draw Kylie to them. What other food and drink play a role in the novel? How does the novel’s fare affect the characters and their relationships? Do you have any recipes which act as magic in your own home or family?

6. Consider Tom and Ian; both were exposed to the “Crooked Path” early in life, each with drastically different outcomes. What else is similar about these two men? Discuss what led to their contrasting conclusions. ?
7. The Book of Magic begins and ends in a library, and Alice Hoffman references many book titles throughout the novel. Check out the list of referenced titles after the final chapter and discuss which of them are familiar. Does anyone have a favorite? Are you planning to read one or more on the list? ??8. “Love was inside every story” Franny thinks towards the end of the novel. Discuss the different ways and different types–familial, romantic, mania, etc–of love in this book and how it shaped the story.

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