New York Times Bestselling Author

Book Review: Fiction

Posted on Jul 26, 2017 |

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman



This prequel to the novel Practical Magic is about three siblings, Franny, Jet (Bridget), and Vincent, who, when the novel begins, are three teenagers ostracized by their peers and the neighbors because they are witches. Worse to them, they battle under the constraints of a curse started hundreds of years earlier.

What I found fun about this book are all the life adages shared, often by their Aunt Isabelle. Also, viewing history through the lens of a witch. For example, the drop in sales of a certain herb once the birth control pill is legalized. The Stonewall Riots, the Viet Nam war, etc.

I did not love the writing style, though. I felt like parts of it were being reported to me instead of feeling like I was seeing things from the various character’s point of view. Also, it took me a while to feel like the story was really starting.

But who doesn’t want to believe in a little magic sometimes? This is available for sale on October 10.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy


Fiction > Southern Fiction

This is the second time I’ve listened to the audiobook of this wonderful novel. The narrator does a phenomenal job. The first time I listened to it was several years ago when I was commuting to work, and there is one scene that had me bawling my guts out, which is super embarrassing when you’re in heavy traffic on the highway.
In the story, poet Savanah has attempted suicide again. While she is in a mental hospital recovering, her brother Tom comes up to New York from South Carolina to check on her. Her psychiatrist, Dr. Lowenstein, wants to talk to him to find out about Savanah’s past to see if that can help her help Savanah. So Tom recounts their difficult childhood as the children of an abusive shrimper father and a beauty queen mother who was discontent with motherhood and their poverty. There are several scenes that recount the differences between the poor and the privileged.
Through this narrative device of Tom meeting several times with Dr. Lowenstein, Tom tells sprawling stories of their youth. Sometimes it’s almost like you’re reading interconnected short stories, but the writing is masterful, so you don’t mind going on what can seem like tangents. Plus, there is humor, and the siblings (there is also another brother, who is dead by the time we start the novel, but we learn about him as Tom recounts their upbringing) are likeable, complex characters. All the characters are well drawn. The South and history are also characters in the book.
Tom himself is in a crumbling marriage, and he screwed up his career as a high school football coach.
I love this novel and highly recommend it. It’s my favorite Pat Conroy book.

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