Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman is a prequel to Practical Magic (and it is another advanced reader copy I received).
Maria was left in a field for Hannah Owens to find. Hannah is a practitioner of the “Nameless Art” and she begins to pass along her knowledge to Maria. Maria is a fast learner and a natural witch which she discovers is inherited from her mother Rebecca. Rebecca visits one day both to check in on Maria, and more so, to get Hannah’s help breaking a powerful love spell that she now regrets.
Rebecca’s visit sparks a terrible chain of events in which Hannah perishes. Maria seeks out her mother, but she seems to only have eyes for her one true love. Maria is sent off as an indentured servant. She continues to hone her craft during this time on the island of Curacao. It is here where Maria falls in “love” and becomes pregnant by the uppity John Hathorne from Salem.
Several years pass until Maria is freed and decides to take her five-year-old daughter Faith to find her father. Along the journey, Maria cures the ship captain’s son, Samuel, and they develop a relationship. However, Maria is determined to ignore fate’s warnings and continue her search for John. There is so much more, including Maria’s ill-fated reunion with John, her near hanging during the witch trials, her off-and-on relationship with Samuel, and losing Faith (in more ways than one).
I need to look back because I think I already read Practical Magic, and I don’t remember enjoying it as much as this book. This story was a solid page turner, and will certainly appeal to those who enjoy tales of witchcraft. I also enjoyed all the natural remedies which are carefully scripted throughout the story. Aside from witchcraft, this is also a story about understanding true love.
Next up: my goal is to finish the remaining Intermediate Nutmeg nominees before the school year kicks off! Adult novels will be on hold until then.