Sally and Gilly Owens live on a small island with their two aunts. On the surface, they seem normal. Gilly is a wild party girl who wants to travel and fall in love while Sally wants to put down roots, raise her children, and manage a local skin and hair care shop. But the two women actually come from a long line of witches and live under a family curse that says any man who falls in love with an Owens woman will die an untimely death.
When Sally helps Gilly escape an abusive lover, Jimmy and ends up killing him in the process, Sally and Gilly try to cover it up. But when state investigator Gary Hallet comes by to investigate Jimmy’s disappearance, Sally and Gilly’s cover-up comes back to haunt them in more ways than one. Keeping quiet becomes increasingly difficult as strange things keep happening at the Owens residence, including roses growing overnight, Jimmy’s favorite tequila being left on the front porch, and a strange man is seen by roses that grew overnight. Sally also must fight the strange connection and attraction she feels to Gary, especially as he gets further to the truth.
Practical Magic is a fantastic movie based on a book by Alice Hoffman. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are great as sisters and Aidan Quinn makes for a sexy Gary Hallet. It’s a great movie to watch, especially around Halloween. If you like Practical Magic then you will love these five romance novels.
1) Eternity by Maggie Shayne
Word Count: 114,060
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars
Read my review of Eternity.
300 years ago, Raven St. James was hanged for witchcraft. But she revives among the dead to find herself alive. She is an Immortal High Witch, one of the light. A note from her mother warns that there are others, those of the Dark, who preserve their own lives by taking the hearts of those like her.
Duncan Wallace’s forbidden love for the secretive lass costs him his life.
300 years later, he loves her again, tormented by hazy memories of a past that can’t be real. She tells him of another lifetime, claims to be immortal. Though he knows she’s deluded, he can’t stay away. And the Dark Witch after her heart is far closer than either of them know.
This book is perfect for Practical Magic fans. Not only are there good witches and plenty of magic, but it also takes place in a small town with a lot of the same small town gossip that affects Gilly and Sally. Raven and her sister also have the same strong bond Gilly and Sally have. While the Dark Witch isn’t Raven’s ex-lover, he is a person from her past who threatens her life like how Jimmy threatens Gilly.
2) Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
Page Count: 400
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Read my review of Dance Upon the Air.
When Nell Channing arrives on charming Three Sisters Island, she believes that she’s finally found refuge from her abusive husband—and from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago…
But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease. Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore café—and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. But there is a part of herself she can never reveal to him—for she must continue to guard her secrets if she wants to keep the past at bay. One careless word, one misplaced confidence, and the new life she’s created so carefully could shatter completely.
Just as Nell starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realizes that the island suffers under a terrible curse—one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692. And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women—and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step—she must find the power to save her home, her love…and herself…
Witches, islands, curses, and an abusive lover. This book is practically made for people who like Practical Magic. While the bond between the women isn’t that strong in this book– they’ve only just met, after all– they do have a strong and complex friendship. Zach Todd is also perfect for Nell after her controlling husband and they have a great love story.
3) The Boundless Deep by Kate Brallier
Page Count: 432
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.86 out of 5 stars
Grad student Liza has long been plagued by vivid dreams of whaling. Offered the chance to trade her land-locked existence for a summer on Nantucket, the well-preserved heart of New England’s whaling trade, Liza jumps at the chance, eager to see how well her dreams mesh with historical reality.
The answer is: all too well. Liza’s dreams become highly sexual; her visions of ship’s captain Obadiah Young grow increasingly intense. At times the past and present mix before her eyes, with automobiles replaced by horse-drawn carriages.
Though skeptical of Liza’s claims of a past life, whaling museum curator Adam is drawn to Liza’s intense desire to know the truth—about herself, and about Obadiah, accused of murdering his beautiful, young wife. But Adam isn’t the only man with an interest in Liza—handsome Lucian, whose home Liza is sharing for the season, has designs on her as well.
In a single summer, Liza must answer the riddle of her dreams, reunite lovers separated by death, solve a hundred-year-old murder . . . and figure out her heart’s desire.
While there are no witches here, the setting of Nantucket reminds me a lot of the island in Pracical Magic and there is a similar atmosphere. This book is great for people who like the strong family legacy aspect in Practical Magic. Instead of a curse that needs to be broken, there is a mystery and to be solved and nightmares to be banished.
4) My Romance Curse by Wren Tirrell
Genre: Contemporary, Comedy
Page Count: 214
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Amy has a small flaw in her love life – her boyfriends die on her. Two, so far. With her fear of dead boyfriends, her live ones don’t last long before she dumps them.
Until the day her beloved bicycle, Marge, takes a dive into the sea at Nelly Bay. Can Lukas, her bicycle rescuer, Viking geek scientist, and man with the gymnastic finger-porn expertise be different and survive the curse?
Smitten by Amy, he sure wants to be.
Curses don’t exist. So when bad things happen, things that *might* be impossible, Lukas sees cracks opening in his rule-driven world.
With Wally the border collie by their side, key roles in a movie called Night of the Living Teddy Bears and Zombies, and a whole lot of friends with good, bad, and dirty suggestions, they’re planning to foil this curse.
Just like in Practical Magic, the curse of the dying lovers needs to be broken and there’s a man willing to try so he can be with the woman he loves. Or at least lusts over.
5) Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost
The family magic seems to have skipped over Tammy Jo Trask. All she gets are a few untimely visits from long-dead, smart-mouthed family ghost Edie. But when her locket-an heirloom that happens to hold Edie’s soul is stolen in the midst of a town-wide crime spree, it’s time for Tammy to find her inner witch.
After a few experiences with her dysfunctional magic, Tammy turns to the only person in small-town Duval, Texas, who can help: the very rich and highly magical Bryn Lyons. He might have all the answers-and a 007 savoir-faire to boot-but the locket isn’t the only heirloom passed down in Tammy’s family. She also inherited a warning: stay away from Lyons.
A family of witches is right up the ally of any fan of Practical Magic. Even though this isn’t a story of a witch denying her powers (like Sally did) and it’s a story of a witch being denied her powers by the universe, the family of witches and the small town setting is perfect for fans of the 1998 classic movie.
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