Cursed for Life? Not So Fast, Say Alice Hoffman’s Witches

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By Joanne Ramos

By Alice Hoffman

“Some stories begin at the beginning and others begin at the end.” So opens “The Book of Magic,” the final installment of Alice Hoffman’s popular Practical Magic series, a page-turning fairy tale of a saga that spans three books, one star-studded movie adaptation and multiple centuries of adventure and misadventure, love lost and found and bottomless cauldrons of sorcery in the lives of the bewitchingly witchy Owens family.

“The Book of Magic” begins at an ending: the imminent demise of Jet, the beautiful witch who, with her sister Franny, are the aging matriarchs of the Owens clan. When Jet learns from her own reflection in a library mirror that she has only seven days left to live, she leaves for Manhattan for a last, secret tryst with her longtime lover, Rafael. Jet and Rafael have kept their connection under wraps for decades because they are cursed. This is the legacy of Maria Owens, the first woman in the family to leave England for Massachusetts in the 17th century. As she stood in the gallows, having been sentenced to death for witchcraft, Maria called a curse upon anyone in her family, then or ever, who fell in love.

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