This article contains affiliate links. Reading SFF may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Practical Magic Series in Order: Meet the witches of the Owens family

  • by

“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”

American writer Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction. Practical Magic is one of her best-known book which has been adapted into a 1998 movie adaptation starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

It’s also the first in a magic realism series comprised of four books about the women in the Owens family. They are witches, but magic doesn’t resolve their problems, certainly not when it comes to love as the family line has been cursed by one of their ancestors.

The series explores the Owens family and the relationship between the women — between sisters, between mothers and daughters, between nieces and aunts, and between friends, as would say Alice Hoffman herself.

Navigating between family, sisterhood, and love with a touch of magic, it’s also a story about learning to know yourself, embracing who you are, doing what you want without hurting anyone.

Practical Magic Book Series in Order

There are two ways to read the series. You can read them in the order they were written or you can read them in chronological order.

Practical Magic Books Series in Publication Order

Practical Magic Books Series in Chronological Order

Cover for Magic Lessons - Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman Cover for Magic Lessons - Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman Cover for Magic Lessons - Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman Cover for The Book of Magic - Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic — For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

The Rules of Magic — From the beginning, their mother Susanna knew they were unique: Franny with her skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, who could commune with birds; Jet as shy as she is beautiful, who knows what others are thinking, and Vincent so charismatic that he was built for trouble. Susanna needed to set some rules of magic: no walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles and certainly, absolutely, no books about magic…

But the Owens siblings are desperate to uncover who they really are. Each heads down a life-altering course, filled with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, and magic and love. Despite the warning handed down through the family for centuries – Know that for our family, love is a curse – they will all strive to break the rules and find true love.

Magic Lessons — 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 “Nameless 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.

The Book of Magic — The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three hundred 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.

A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.

Practical Magic Series Quotes

From Practical Magic:

“Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.”

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.” – Aunt Frances”

“It doesn’t matter what people tell you. It doesn’t matter what they might say. Sometimes you have to leave home. Sometimes, running away means you’re headed in the exact right direction.”

“The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.”

From The Rules of Magic:

“Other people’s judgments were meaningless unless you allowed them to mean something.”

“Life is a mystery, and it should be so, for the sorrow that accompanies being human and the choices one will have to make are a burden, too heavy for most to know before their time comes.”

“Writing itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power.”

“I just do the best I can to face what life brings. That’s the secret, you know. That’s the way you change your fate.”

From Magic Lessons:

“This is how you begin in this world. These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.”

“It was always best to step into the future while it was still waiting for you.”

“Some people grow weak when they are victimized, others grow stronger, and still others combine those two attributes to become dangerous,”

“Always love someone who will love you back.”

Share Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *