Top critical review
Great idea about how to round out the series, but a real hit to continuity and too much exposition
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2021
The Good: Three generations of awesome Owens sisters are back! Plus a surprise returner from a previous book. And the idea - it's finally time to try to break the love curse made in teen haste by Maria Owns 300 years earlier - is a good one. Unfortunately, I think this book was written in haste and pushed through the writing process (and if there was any editing at all, I couldn't find it).
It kind of hurts my heart to write this, but if you loved The Rules of Magic and Magic Lessons, along with the original book (or film), you may not receive this final piece with ease. Perhaps it's just me, but continuity in story and character are very important. It's how I suspend disbelief and become invested in a story. Without spoiling anything, I found it disturbing that a character who died in a specific way in both the book and film "Practical Magic" was described as having died in a completely (and unnecessarily) different way in the book. A character whose internal dialogue suggested she was deeply attracted to men suddenly "always had preferred women anyway." It would have been better for her to have evolved as bi, preferring women as she matured, rather than to state that her previous attractions to men didn't exist. She was also described as incredibly beautiful in a previous book and not particularly pretty in this one. There was also a sense of "never mind" in the outcome of a relationship that meant a lot to those who enjoyed Practical Magic. And there was so much repetition (again, where was the editor?) and telling, rather than showing or demonstrating through dialogue that it was hard to plow through. For instance, the entire story could have started at the second chapter. The last quarter of the book improved upon this, though.
Unfortunately, much of the outcome was also predictable, especially in the relationship department. All of this grieves me to write as I revere Alice Hoffman. I just wish she could take this one back and do some revising.