I finished Practical Magic a few days ago. It’s one that has been on my to-be-read shelves for some time, so it was good to read it. It’s a light easy read, about the Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian. I have to admit that one of my reasons for choosing this book in the first place is that my mother’s maiden name was Owens and her aunt was called Sally. The resemblance ends with the name as my Sally Owens was nothing like this Sally Owens.
Sally and Gillian were orphaned when they were very young and went to live with their eccentric, elderly aunts in New England. Generations of the Owens women have lived in the house for more than two hundred years and have a reputation as witches. Everything that goes wrong in the town is put down to them. Yet women come to their door at night looking for remedies, particularly for love potions. Sally and Gillian grow up and both move away from their aunts to make their own way. Gillian, the younger wayward sister, has lots of love affairs ending up with Jimmy. Sally, the sensible one, meanwhile has two daughters and is a widow. When Gillian lands up on her doorstep with a dead Jimmy in the car, Sally’s life is turned upside down as she tries to cope with the situation. In the end it is the aunts who are called upon for help.
This is the first book by Alice Hoffman that I’ve read and whilst I thought it was OK I shan’t be rushing out to find more of her books. It has the feel of a fairy tale, mixed up with reality which I liked. There was enough suspense to keep me wondering how it would end and I liked how the characters interacted – Sally and Gillian were both well-drawn. I wasn’t that keen on the love stories, which seemed to be of the type of instant attraction with disastrous consequences. Interestingly, for me at any rate, I didn’t mind that it’s written in the present tense, most of the time I didn’t even notice it.
I didn’t identify this as a book for the RIP Challenge, but it fits in well, I think.