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on 29 May 2017
If you're expecting a book that runs alongside the film, you'll be disappointed. Take this as a stand-alone book. I absolutely LOVED the movie, and knew there was a book so I bought it. I did read the reviews before I read it though, and knew not to expect an identical story to the film.
The story itself is beautiful! There is magic in every sentence. I loved it.
The story revolves around Sally and her teenage children, and the issues that come along with being a single parent to teenage girls. Her wild sister Gillian turns up on the doorstep with a serious problem that she expects her older sister to help her with. The sisters try their best but eventually have to turn to their elderly witch aunts to help them. The only issue I have with the story, is that the aunts are kept on the sidelines until they're needed at the end, I'd have liked to have read more about them. The other thing is that Sally's love interest is introduced at the very end of the story and you read very little about her late husband. The story could have been so much more, i felt it was lacking substance. However, it is an easy and beautiful read and I did very much enjoy it!
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on 2 January 2018
I have always loved the film, concerned the book might not live up to those expectation, I didn't venture into these books. Until now.
Try to forget the film, as this book binds you in a delicate intricate web of trust, family, the love that blinds us, the unhealthy head long love and lust, then finding how to choose a better path rather than lose yourself. It's magical in its own way, without overdoing the magical content. It has delicious slices of magic that tease at your edges of reality and lend themselves to the story.
Open the book and dive in, I was rooted to the spot until I finished. Thank you.
Late teens of the young adult world, and anyone who doesn't remember being a young person finding love and would like to be reminded, for all those sisters who lost touch. Just remember films merge books together and don't expect the film.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2015
This is a book of magical realism meaning that it is set in the contemporary world but that magic exists almost as another force of nature. The characters in this book don't get involved with spells and potions but they live in a world where some people have power which affects others and where wishes can do real damage.

Gillian and Sally are brought up by their elderly guardian aunts who perform magic and divination for the inhabitants of their small town, mainly the women. The aunts are odd and almost frightening and some of the magic has lasting effects, not always for the good of all. The sisters reject their way of life and flee their home with one travelling widely and the other marrying. The sisters have little contact with each other or with their aunts until one sister commits an act which means that she needs help and the two of them and their daughters come together to realise their legacy.

Virtually all the magic done in this book is by women and concerns love or the consequences of love. The sisters live real lives in a recognisable world and they struggle to make a life for themselves in the shadow of this power. In the end, this book is about family, power, consequences and reconciliation. It is amusing and thoughtful in places and very different from many other novels about magic where it seems to solve all problems. Here, magic is a power which can be used or abused and its practitioners are ordinary women with their own lives and wishes.

I found this book unusual, but interesting. The author has approached her subject differently from others who write about contemporary magic because. in the end, this is a book about people and the choices they make.
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on 12 January 2018
AH! I loved this book so much. The movie has always been a favourite of mine and I decided, once I saw the book was being rereleased, that I had to have it. The movie is so different from the original but I can see why. I really enjoyed this book. Cant wait to read the prequel
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on 27 January 2016
rather a disappointment...i have not seen the film, and will not..bought the book because of good reviews, but i have found it slow, boring, badly paced and rather badly written...all told in third person, from the perspective of an all-knowing narrator, which is annoying...i want to be shown, not told...also, the self-doubts and insecurities of the nieces was silly...they were wimps...i did not believe in their weak personas at all, ever...and sally's daughters were a disappointnent too...very ordinary people in an extraordinary setting...nah, too bad...money and time wasted! i want strong women, who fight back, and do not knuckle under..did not find them here, sorry!
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on 4 April 2018
The story of sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, their lives and their families, all with a glorious hint of magic.
I’ll start by saying that I did enjoy this book, but - I had seen the film so many times before I even knew it was based on a book, this is one of those rare occasions when I actually prefer the film to the book.
Having said that, the book has far greater depth, and follows the lives of not just Sally an Gillian, but of Sally’s two daughters as well, who are older and play a much larger role in the book. For me, this added an extra dynamic to the plot which I enjoyed.
I also loved the magic element, which is not blatant but there as part of their lives in a subtle way, and which almost might not be magic, but then is clearly magic in some parts of the plot.
Overall, an enjoyable read - and I am now planning on buying the recently published prequel, to get the inside story on the Owens’ aunts!
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on 1 January 2018
Great story, read it in one sitting and can't wait to read the prequel.
The trials and tribulations of the different pairs of sisters and the dynamics of relationships is shown so well in this novel. You must believe in magic too....
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on 5 March 2018
This was a delightful book about 3 generations of Owens sisters who knew just little more than normal about magic and folk-lore. It was well written, the characters were believable and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to them. I have only recently discovered Alice Hoffman and I'm enjoying reading her back catalogue.A good read!
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on 23 January 2013
Not quite sure how the author arrived at this title, but one might easily rename it as "Unostentatious Magic". Unlike some readers I was not anticipating a major outbreak of supernatural forces but the level of actual "magic" was fairly underwhelming.
The book was chosen by our book club as the monthly read so I went into it with no real preconceptions as I had not encountered the author before. The characters were developed at some length but the sisters involved seemed to be "branded" more by the reputations of their ancestors than on account of their own personal actions. The only ones apparently involved in the more practical applications of their "arts" were the aunts who lingered in the background of the story dispensing "cures" for the lovelorn or assisting vengeful members of their local community, and upon this reputation the sisters are given, either a wide berth, or an unusual ability to infatuate the men/boys of the neighbourhood. The only ensuing supernatural aspect was an unwanted miasma and an uncharacteritically energetic lilac bush in the garden after an unexpected enrichment of the soil.
As my star rating shows it was not an unrewarding read but, IMHO, just lacked a bit of development and imagination that would possibly have gained it a little more credibility in its use of the word 'magic'.
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on 12 January 2018
I adore this book. I loved the film for years before discovering it was a novel first. I was so pleased to find the book and the film are very different in tone, and even some of the major plot events, as it has made it like 2 different tellings of the same story meaning I can love them both equally.
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