These are arguably the best Alice Hoffman novels out there. Check them out to add a little spark of magic into your quarantine life.
It’s important, especially in these turbulent times, to appreciate what makes each day special, and what better way to do that than through reading! We’ve rounded up five authors who invite a touch of magic into the everyday world. So read on! And invite a little magic into your day.
KERRY ANNE KING
Kerry Anne King is exactly the sort of writer who unleashes the extraordinary in the ordinary. Best known for her acclaimed novel Whisper Me This, which was an Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller, King is back with the life-affirming Everything You Are.
Barbara O’Neal, author of The Art of Inheriting, “loved every magical word,” of Everything You Are, while Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) notes that “Love and sorrow, regret and hope are woven into every aspect of the story by music—not just any music, but the magical kind that leaves both creator and listener, for better or worse, irrevocably changed.”
“Kerry Anne King writes with such insight and compassion for human nature,” says Barbara Taylor Sissel, bestselling author of Crooked Little Lies, and she’s right!
One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.
When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?
Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win Everything you Are, an amazing pair of headphones and more magical prizes!
So, okay— Tana French may be best known for her Dublin Murder Squad series, and that may not sound too magical, or too ‘everyday’, for that matter. However, while the wider DMS series is about detectives solving murders, each book is about something more than that. I want to talk specifically about her novel The Secret Place, which is the fifth DMS novel, but focusses heavily on a group of teenage girls who are potentially involved in the murder of a boy on the grounds of their boarding school. The girls have a strangely supernatural bond, one the hardened detectives haven’t seen before, and the tender and raw exploration of this magic and the girls’ relationships with each other, is wonderfully woven together with all the page-turning suspense of a good murder mystery.
Not all of French’s books contain magical elements, but the ones that do are imbued with an extra spark that will hook you from the start.
Check out the blurb of The Secret Place and get excited!
The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago.
The caption says, ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM’.
Detective Stephen Moran hasn’t seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she’s sixteen and she’s shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys’ school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place – the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously – Holly found the card.
Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway – tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn’t want in a partner. And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn’t want to hear.
If you read Angela Carter’s feminist reimaginings of fairytales, The Bloody Chamber for school, then you’ll know that the 80s surrealist and feminist writer took a vivid delight in imbuing the everyday with a twisted magic all of her own. When I first read her novel The Magic Toyshop at sixteen, I nearly lost my mind I was so excited by her strange descriptions of a girl climbing an apple tree at night in her mother’s wedding dress, of her uncle’s toyshop, her mute aunt, the lifesize chess set and the giant swan puppet… Throughout the book, nothing distinctly magical happens, everything is possible, but so fascinating, imaginative and unlikely as to add up to much the same thing as magic.
Her novel Nights at the Circus is also one of my favorites, following a journalist who goes on tour with a traveling circus, the star of which is a supposedly winged woman, Fevvers, who alleges she is half swan.
Here’s the blurb for The Magic Toyshop!
One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother’s wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave the home of her childhood, she is sent to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie and Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the toys he makes in his workshop: clockwork roses and puppets that are life-size – and uncannily life-like.
A woman and her little girl move to a French village and open an intoxicating chocolate shop which causes a stir in the village. Vianne’s mysterious arrival and the effect of the chocolate on the villagers are both imbued with an undefined magic that intrigues and delights.
Chances are, you’ve seen the Oscar-nominated movie starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, but did you know the story continues in three more books featuring Vianne and her chocolate? Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, and The Strawberry Thief are all part of Harris’s gorgeous series that brings so much good and lighthearted magic to the everyday!
Check out the blurb for Chocolat!
When a mysterious stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet with her daughter and opens an exotic chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial.
As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?
Chocolat was Joanne Harris’ first book about Vianne Rocher,and was turned into a popular Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The story of Vianne and her daughters was continued in Lollipop Shoes, and then in Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, and now in her new novel, The Strawberry Thief.
Alice Hoffman is probably best known for her novel Practical Magic which was adapted for the big screen, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, but pretty much all her books, from old works like Property Of, to her latest novel, The World That We Knew, have magic woven into them. In their starred review of The World That We Knew, a holocaust novel featuring threads of magic realism, Booklist calls it “An exceptionally voiced tale of deepest love and loss…one of [Hoffman’s] finest. WWII fiction has glutted the market, but Hoffman’s unique brand of magical realism and the beautiful, tender yet devastating way she explores her subject make this a standout.”
Inspired by a true story told to Hoffman by a fan at a book signing, The World That We Knew explores the ‘hidden children,’ Jewish children sent to live with non-Jewish families to keep them hidden from Nazis during World War II.
In 1941, during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.