Sunday, January 27, 2019

Night Bleeds Jan 2019

Book selection was the  Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. There is no movie version at the time of this post.


Plot: Jet her sister Franny, their brother Vincent and cousin April are members of the Owens family. In the early half of 1960 Franny is invited to stay the summer with their aunt Isabelle for Franny's seventeenth birthday. This causes the already strained relationship between the kids and their parents to become an actual rift. The three siblings, Franny, Jet and Vincent happily go to Massachusetts to stay at the family house on Magnolia Street.  They quickly learn that the small town seems to fear their aunt Isabelle. They spend a couple of weeks getting to know the area, learning about their family's history, when their cousin April arrives out of nowhere. Already having spent the summer before there herself, April feels entitled to the house more than Franny and Jet feel she should.  Jet quickly meets Levi, one of the locals and falls deeply in love, while Franny is hung up on her best friend Haylin who is back home. Before long, Vincent is spending his nights between the local bars and at the aunt's next door neighbour's. The next door neighbour who just happens to be a middle aged woman. While all of them know about the family's connection to witchcraft, Franny ever the scientist refuses at first to believe it  until she spends a few evenings working on spells with aunt Isabelle. At the end of the summer, everyone returns home, with Franny getting ready for college. Jet continues to have a semi-secret relationship with Levi, and on the night they had planned to run off together; there is a car accident which kills not just Levi, but their parents as well.  Jet then becomes depressed and rents a hotel room ready to commit suicide. She's saved by a bellboy, and begins a complicated relationship with him. The three siblings learn that cousin April now has a little girl named Regina. When Isabelle dies not too long there after, the Owens family house is left to the three siblings. Franny unable to go to college, breaks up her semi-relationship with Haylin, having to watch as he becomes engaged to someone else. A few years go past, and we learn that Vincent is in a relationship with a man, and intends to break the family curse. He fakes his own death, removing himself from the familyline, and disappears. Franny reunites with Haylin decades later, only to discover he's dying of cancer. The sisters learn that cousin April died from a poisonous spider bite and her now grown daughter Regina, also having died in a fire leaving two granddaughters -Gillian and Sally.  Franny and Jet then take in the two girls.

I have to say right off the bat, I read this in a day and a half. Cried through 90% of it, but I really fell into the story. It ends where pretty much Practical Magic starts, with the aunts taking in the girls.

My one complaint with this is that the timeline doesn't match up. Practical Magic takes place in the mid-1990's with Sally and Gillian in their 30's to 40's, with teenaged kids of their own. This ends in 1998 with the characters of Sally and Gillian roughly 6 years old. That is literally the only negative thing I have to say about this book.

The big theme that seems to reoccur is the idea of being true to yourself and accepting your whole self in order to be happy.  There is literally one scene where aunt Isabelle offers each of the four -Franny, Jet, Vincent and April- a choice of tea. Either the caution tea or the courage tea. It's a form of personality test to see who of them is being true to themselves and who isn't. She uses it to form her final decision on whom she should leave the house to.

The character of cousin April is one of those you find yourself tisking and cheering for at the same time. Possibly, the most realistic with her desperation for acceptance. She's almost the mirror of Vincent.

A lot of the characters in this have trust issues. They can't or won't trust the people they love, or the people they end up needing the most. With the character of Jet, after the death of her true love, she spends years fighting with Levi's father. His trust issues about her family and the Owen's curse keep him from grieving properly, as well as allowing Jet to. It's also the one element that keeps her current lover at arms length.

This is a prequel to Practical Magic, and the bridge for the spin-off  The Probable Future. I'm actually going to end this here, as I can't get any deeper into this novel without giving away every little detail.

If you joined in this month, leave me a comment with a link to your post, and don't forget there's always next month's selection. I'll be back later in the week with the official post for it.

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