Rx: “Magic Lessons”
Prescribed by: Alice Hoffman
Prescribed for: Fans of Hoffman’s previous novels featuring the Owens family, and for anyone who loves historical fiction centered on the Salem witch trials and the persecution of exceptional women.
Side Effects: An overwhelming desire to plant lavender for good luck and place mint on your windowsill to keep bad fortune (and flies!) away.
Directions: Alice Hoffman novels are a feast for the senses, filled with strong, female characters and story-lines woven through with scenes of historical significance. Best of all, her novels encourage women to embrace their differences and respect the little bit of witch inside every one of us.
This is the backstory of Maria Owens, the woman who in a moment of despair, cast a spell on herself that persisted for generations among the women in her family with regard to love. Owens women are powerful, and their magic can heal all manner of aches and ailments. They are labeled as witches because they are voracious readers whose collection of recipes help those who cannot be helped by anyone else. Their magic is practical, and it is mystical, and very much based in science and a knowledge of plants and their properties. Maria’s journey takes her from Europe to Curacao and finally to the United States where she builds the family home in Massachusetts, a legacy from mothers to daughters. The bond between Owens women is strong, something that all women can celebrate acknowledging their own strength, courage, and determination.
“This is how you begin in this world. These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.” Alice Hoffman
Maria baked an apple pie every day for years, leaving it on a windowsill to cool so that it’s enticing aroma would draw her daughter home. Apples are symbolic of love and the cinnamon promotes healing, not just of bodies, but of relationships. We could all use a slice of apple pie right about now:
Dutch Apple Pie by Flying the Hedge
And this bewitching cocktail, featuring botanical-infused gin, will make you feel like a kitchen witch:
Hocus Pocus Witch’s Brew by Best Day of the Week