If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at member.services@bookofthemonth.com or 1-877-236-8540.

Get your first hardcover or audiobook for just $5.

Join now.
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Historical fiction

Magic Lessons

3peat author

Alice Hoffman is officially a 3-time author at BOTM, which is a pretty big deal!

by Alice Hoffman

Quick take

Travel back to 1600s Salem in this standalone prequel to The Rules of Magic and Practical Magic.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical



Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Read less

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Magic Lessons.

Why I love it

I’m a sucker for magic. I’ll happily spend hours discussing the movements of the zodiac, and I never met a tarot deck I didn’t want to own. I also love brilliant genre fiction and complicated female characters—so basically, Alice Hoffman’s new novel, Magic Lessons, had me at hello.

If Magic Lessons were a potion, its recipe might look something like this: Start with equal parts family saga, feminist creed, and love story. Combine them in the cauldron of 17th-century America (maybe, say, the Salem witch trials?). Add a whole lot of magic and folklore. Sprinkle with revenge. And voilà: the story of Maria Owens, a young witch whose quest for justice takes her into the dangerous world of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where she lays down a curse that will stalk her family for generations.

I adored this book. The prose is so lyrical it feels like an incantation, and Hoffman makes a distant historical moment seem as real and immediate as the present day. It’s a prequel to Hoffman’s bestselling Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic, and it showcases the same seamless blend of magic and reality. But you definitely don’t have to have read those books to be riveted by Maria’s story. Magic Lessons is a universal tale about love and survival. Any reader craving a dose of the impossible will be spellbound by this tender, powerful book.

Read less

Member ratings (18,493)

  • Arlene B.

    Richmond, VA

    Magical (obviously). I was utterly captivated by this enchanting tale of love. It’s a love story, but not in the typical sense. It’s a love story in the generations’-long, deep as a well sense. Loved!

  • Pauline R.

    Reno, NV

    Another of Alice Hoffman’s triumphs! The third book in the series and the beginning of the trilogy, I’ve taken to wearing my red boots again! Women, witchcraft, and claiming one’s own power and love

  • Alyna M.

    Salem , OR

    This book made me cry and feel things. Which in my case means that this is a good book. Also again, I’m such a huge Alice Hoffman fan, so it’s hard for me to not like her books! This one is a fav ♥️

  • Kaitlyn G.

    Omaha, NE

    I really enjoyed this book! Maria’s story is captivating. I think it’s the best in the series! It also works very well as a standalone novel if you haven’t read the sequels that were published before.

  • Alayna L.

    Griffith, IN

    I usually don’t read this genre but I loved the different perspectives and the storyline kept my attention throughout. I most loved the main character’s true desire to always try to do the right thing