This was actually the first full book I read this year but for some reason I missed posting about it…
I haven’t actually seen the film, but the title and the cover appealed to me, plus I’m reading more about magic these days. I’ve read a synopsis of the film and I think they’ve made it much happier and fluffier than the book, though I’ll have to watch it to judge that properly.
The book is about two sisters, Sally and Gillian, who grow up living with their witch aunts following the death of their parents. The book covers their late childhood and adult lives as they decide they need to get away from their childhood home – they’re extremely close at the start of the book but differences develop as their lives go in separate directions, until they’re forced together again by various events.
I really enjoyed this and will be looking out for more of Alice Hoffman’s books. For the most part the supernatural takes a back seat – it’s very much woven into the background of the story but never takes over for the sake of it. There are actually some fairly dark themes, and the writing is very clever in that it lulls you into this safe, secure trance and then you suddenly realise something horrible has happened.
There’s a happy ending, which I liked because I’m a sucker for those, but it didn’t feel contrived. For all their flaws you do find yourself liking the sisters and, later, Sally’s daughters and you do come out of it feeling like the world is a slightly more magical place – pretty much what I want from a book really.