Monday, April 30, 2018

The Rules of Magic

I love Alice Hoffman's work and her newest book, The Rules of Magic, did not disappoint.  The new book is a prequel to Practical Magic. I thought that I had read somewhere that there would be a third book in the series, but I don't know that for sure.
The Rules of Magic

In The Rules of Magic, Susanna Owens left Massachusetts and went to New York where she married and had three children: Frances, Bridget and Vincent.  Susanna did not want her children to be aware of anything magic related; however as the children grew they became aware of "special abilities" that each had.  The connection going back to the 1600's between the Owens family and magic still could not be denied. One could communicate with animals and one could read other's thoughts. 

The book is divided into sections, with the first section being called "Intuition". This section begins with the Owens family history. The first line:

"Once upon a time, before the whole world changed, it was possible to run away from home, disguise who you were, adn fit into polite society. The children's mother had done exactly that." 
The first Owens traced back in the family came to America in 1680. And someone always fled from the home, never to return.  This is what Susanna had done in the early 1950's.  And there she made her life with her husband and children. The children were always different from other children. Then one morning in June a package arrived for Susanna and she told the children that it was from her Aunt Isabelle.  It was an invitation for Franny to come and visit in Massachusetts.  It was decided that all three children would to for the summer. And the children loved it there. Franny started visiting the local library trying to learn more about the family. And she came across a journal written by Maria Owens. On the first page was written:

"Beware of love. Know that for our family, love is a curse."
While the children were at their aunt's home that summer, a young girl named April showed up one day and they were told that April was their cousin.  April made the summer interesting for the children (kind of like Dill arriving each summer in To Kill A Mockingbird). This section ends with the children heading back to New York after their summer with their great-aunt.

The other sections of the book are "Alchemy", "Conjure", "Elemental", "Gravity", and "Remedy". The book went on with the children's lives, as they grew up and learned to live in the world with their gifts. Each struggled with love and their fear of the curse.  It was a quite touching story of the bond between the children. And those that came later.

And in the end,

"Know that the only remedy for love is to love more."

I'm already anxiously awaiting Ms. Hoffman's next book!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The King of Lies

Yes, I am definitely a fan of John Hart's books.  I came across one that I hadn't read while browsing in a used book store, so I picked it up.  It didn't disappoint.

The King of LiesThe main character of The King of Lies is Jackson Workman Pickens, known as "Work".  Work was an attorney in practice with his father.  His father, Ezra, suddenly disappeared and when his body was found, Work was hesitant to be very helpful to the police because he was concerned that his younger sister, Jean, may have killed their father and he had always tried to protect Jean.

There was a side of Ezra that others did not know.  He had been a very abusive husband and father and Work was afraid that after Ezra met and disapproved of Jean's partner, that Jean had had enough of his abuse and killed him.  Jean had a breakdown after her mother's death and was placed in an institution for a period of time.  It was there that she met her partner, Alex.  As Work soon found out, Alex had her own dark history.  So did Jean kill her father, or did Alex?

The backstory of Work's life was a very interesting part of the book.  As a young boy, he had rescued an older girl from being murdered, and their connection helped balance out the whole story.

The characters were well-developed and the novel is an easy, enjoyable mystery to read.  It was a little predictable, but still a good read.