Magic is a theme that weaves itself throughout the books of Alice Hoffman. No matter the genre, and she’s tackled them all, including non-fiction, fiction, children’s lit, YA lit, short stories, and even screenplays, magic always seems to play a role. She’s a master at weaving together the tangible and the fanciful; even in her darkest stories, there’s a little magic present to help see things through.
Alice Hoffman’s 30+ books and stories have been published in over twenty translations with upwards of one hundred foreign editions. Her novels regularly appear on notable book lists in publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Library Journal. She is the author of an original screenplay, and major motion pictures have been made of her novels Practical Magic and Aquamarine.
In addition, The Dovekeepers, her book about the survivors of Masada, was made into a television miniseries. The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Harvard Review, and many other magazines have featured short stories written by Ms. Hoffman. Her work is everywhere.
Are you ready to discover the magic of Alice Hoffman?
Alice Hoffman was born in 1952 in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She received a BA from Adelphi University and then attended the Stanford University Creative Writing Center on a Mirrillee’s Fellowship and earned an MA in creative writing. Hoffman was 21 when she wrote her first novel, Property Of while studying at Stanford. Today, she lives and writes in Boston.
I grew up with a Russian Jewish grandmother that told me stories. I always preferred fairy tales to other children’s books—they told the truth, and they were the original stories that introduced children to the world. I believe that no one is too old for fairy tales.Alice Hoffman
Overview of Hoffman’s Books
Ms. Hoffman’s best-known book is likely Practical Magic. It became a popular movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock in the late ’90s. But her work reaches far beyond this single novel. Whether the story she tells is a far-reaching family saga or a work of historical fiction, Ms. Hoffman’s books are thoroughly researched and rich in details bringing the people and places to life.
With varied settings that include Jews standing against the Romans in 70 CE, the Salem witch trials in 1600, and a 20th-century freak show on Coney Island, the real magic of her writing is the truth of the human heart is always revealed.
Hoffman’s books are to savor; the language, the characters, and the conflicts will pull you forward and keep you glued to every page.
Her books are praised by many. Toni Morrison called The Dovekeepers “… a major contribution to twenty-first-century literature.” Reese Witherspoon chose The Rules of Magic for her Book Club, stating that the “story is full of magic, love, family, heartbreak, and redemption.” Here on Earth was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club, and Publishers Weekly chose Green Witch as one of the best books of the year in 2007.
Which of Alice Hoffman’s books will make it to your list of favorites? Here are 5 (ish) titles to get you started:
Practical Magic Series
The Practical Magic series contains four books: Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, and The Book of Magic (release date Oct. 12th, 2021). The books tell the tale of the Owens family, which has fairy tale magic mixed with real-life struggle.
You can read them in the order they were written – Practical Magic, The Rules of Magic, Magic Lessons, and The Book of Magic, or in chronological order – Magic Lessons, The Rules of Magic, Practical Magic, and The Book of Magic. Either way works just fine. You’ll race through every page to uncover family secrets and learn truths about love and being true to one’s self.
This remarkable novel is often thought of as Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece. The story is set in ancient Israel in Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Here, nine hundred Jews held out against a siege by the Roman armies for months. Only a handful of women and children survived.
The Dovekeepers is a mesmerizing story of four women whose lives intersected during the desperate days of the siege. They are fierce, independent, complex characters facing an impossible situation.
When Nora Silk comes to town, everything changes. She’s a smart, sexy, mysterious, single mom living in 1950s suburbia. Hoffman wrote this book as an homage to her mother, a single woman determined to raise her children independently.
The women in the neighborhood are apprehensive, the men are completely entranced, and the children are inexplicably drawn to Nora. But in the light of Nora’s courage, everyone in this Long Island town begins to see themselves differently. How can one woman change everything? Once you meet Nora, you’ll know.
This young adult novel won numerous awards and was chosen as the year’s best book in 2007 by numerous publications. It’s the story of a young girl named Estrella, a Spanish Jew masquerading as a Catholic during the Spanish Inquisition.
Estrella’s life is full of secrets. Her path to accepting who she is and her family’s heritage takes readers on an emotional journey that includes themes of racism, torture, and intolerance. It’s a haunting tale masterfully told.
Here on Earth
Here on Earth is a modern-day retelling of Wuthering Heights, a story of all-consuming, obsessive love. March Murray returns to Massachusetts for a funeral and finds herself drawn again to Hollis, the boy she loved long ago.
Her attraction to Hollis is so strong, so overwhelming, that she is ready to put every good thing in her life at risk.
Can love like that survive? Can any person afflicted with love like that survive? If you relish a story dripping with passion and angst, this is the book for you.
Discover Alice Hoffman
Has it been a while since you’ve read a book that you couldn’t put down? A book you raced through only to find yourself abruptly slowing down at the last chapter because you don’t want it to end? If so, then it’s time to pick up one of Alice Hoffman’s novels. Each and every one of her magical books will have you spellbound until the very last word.
Discover the books of Alice Hoffman at Discover Books. With free shipping, when you spend $12, and prices as low as $3.85, the only challenge will be choosing which book to start with. Shop and save today! Discover other great authors like Agatha Christie, Kristin Hannah, or Diane Gabaldon.