The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over 300 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.
Page-turning ... Hoffman is not afraid to use a healthy dollop of deus ex machina to keep her complicated story moving. And move it does — though for the first 100 or so pages, readers get bogged down in detailed, sometimes confusing, back stories of a sprawling cast of characters ... The book finds its zing ... If the ending feels overly tidy, well, fairy tales don’t enchant with nuance so much as the sweep of their stories. And, like the witches who populate her stories, Hoffman certainly knows how to enchant.
Hoffman brings the Owens family full circle in a tale of finely wrought female relationships, magic, and love. The generations reflect a societal refrain: the younger ones are headstrong and heedless; the elders are stoic and self-sacrificing, their characters and characterization stronger. The result is a magical realist tale rich in fresh Owens clan lore, providing a hopeful and satisfying conclusion to Hoffman’s beloved Practical Magic series.
This page-turning Atlantic-crossing caper is, above all, a paean to family love ... With QAnon, modern America is again in a grip of witch-fever. But these fast fairytales for grown-ups are full of enchanting comfort — more escapist cure than curse.