Explore All Alice Hoffman Books in Order

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City in 1952 and achieved a BA from Adelphi University before securing an MA in creative writing from the Stanford University Creative Writing Centre. 

Explore All Alice Hoffman Books in Order

At the age of 21, Hoffman wrote her first novel Property Of, while she was still studying for her Master’s. Since then she has expanded her repertoire which now consists of over 40 novels, including 3 children’s books, 1 non-fiction novel, and 2 short stories.

Her writing not only provides millions with entertainment and enjoyment, but they are fantastic sources to study and her work frequently makes it onto reading lists at schools and universities. 

For example, Here on Earth, a novel published in 1997 has been considered a modern reimagining of Emily Brontë’s famous Wuthering Heights. Her novel At Risk follows a family, disrupted by the AIDS epidemic, which provides a fascinating insight into the personal destruction caused by the stigmatized virus. Local Girls was written in 1999 and covers themes of loss, womanhood, and cancer in detail. The book helped to create the Hoffman Breast Center in Massachusetts.

Those are just 3 of Hoffman’s brilliant books that have helped educate readers over the years. As you can see, she is a varied author with plenty to offer. She toys with different genres but keeps humanitarian issues at the core of her writing, even in her books tailored to younger readers.

She is perhaps best known for her Practical Magic series which follows two sisters, blessed (or cursed) with witchery and raised by their erratic aunts. They live in a small town in Massachusetts and face heaps of prejudice and one powerful curse that may stop them from finding true love. 

She has additionally written a Water Tales series and a Green Angel series that respectively include 2 books. She is a multifaceted author that is not confined to just one genre, having dabbled in non-fiction, children’s literature, and a plethora of fictional subgenres. She has also contributed the first book, Everything My Mother Taught Me in the Inheritance Collection, which incorporates 5 stories written by 5 different authors about love, secrecy, and desire. 

In addition, she has written heaps of standalone novels that can be read in any order. These are influential and powerful books capable of changing perspectives and triggering new interests. Many excellent novelists including Toni Morrison have praised Hoffman’s writing and millions of fans have argued her books as ‘must-reads’. Stay tuned to learn more about each book, so you can find the best book to suit your interests and style preferences.

The Practical Magic Series

This series started in 1995 and was an immediate success. Three years after the publication of the first novel, a film adaptation was released starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. This star-studded film was also highly successful and helped draw heaps of new readers to the original book. 

22 years after the release of the first book, Hoffman published another installment, The Rules of Magic, a prequel to the original. Set in 1680, the novel explains how magic came to dominate the town and the family. She then wrote another prequel, Magic Lessons, which follows the woman responsible for the curse, before she rounded off the series with The Book of Magic, which is set after the original and acts as a concluding book. The publication dates differ significantly from the chronological order of this series but you can read them in whichever order you deem suitable. 

Some readers prefer to read prequels after getting to know the characters, settings, and concepts, whereas others prefer a steady chronological story. The publication order (which jumps between time periods and characters) is as follows:

  • Practical Magic
  • The Rules of Magic
  • Magic Lessons 
  • The Book of Magic

Whereas the chronological order is as follows:

  • Magic Lessons
  • The Rules of Magic
  • Practical Magic
  • The Book of Magic

Whichever order you decide to adopt, these books provide a fantastic, compelling story that has captivated the attention of millions across the globe. Let’s take a closer look at these books in chronological order.

Magic Lessons (2020)

Magic Lessons: Book #1 of the Practical Magic Series (1)

Meet Maria. She was abandoned as a baby in 1600s England and is taken in by Hannah Owens, who teaches her all about the ‘Nameless Arts’. Maria immediately displays potential and Hannah nurtures her magical gift. 

Now a young adult, Maria has just experienced her first heartbreak and in desperation, follows her first love to Salem, Massachusetts. There, she is cursed and will learn that magic isn’t always deemed a ‘gift’. She carries a burden that her children and their children will inherit and learns a powerful life lesson in the process – love is all that matters. Magic Lessons kickstarts the magical series with a bang. It’s an emotive, fantastical, and didactic story that beautifully sets the tone for the following books.

The Rules of Magic (2017)

The Rules of Magic: A Novel (2) (The Practical Magic Series)

This book begins with the story of Maria Owens, a woman who led a tragic life, cursed for loving the wrong man. The curse took shape in 1620 and now haunts her descendants. 

The Rules of Magic follows the curse through the ages and is set at the turn of the ‘60s, in New York City on the brink of major development. The book concentrates on Susanna Owens, whose 3 children have already shown signs of magical talent. 

Desperate to stop the curse in its tracks, Susanna lays out some strict ground rules: a curfew oriented around nightfall, no cats, no candles, no magical books, no red shoes, and no crows. Simple right? Well, the last rule may prove the hardest to obey – no falling in love. 

Perplexed and frustrated with all the rules, the children are desperate to find out why their mother is so strict. During a visit to their Aunt Isabelle, the children discover their family’s past and realize why their family has such a bad reputation in the small town in Massachusetts. 

The children realize that this is something they can never escape, so they are faced with a choice: live their lives restricted and in fear of the family curse, or embrace magic and never turn back.

Practical Magic (1995)

Practical Magic: 25th Anniversary Edition (The Practical Magic Series)

Now, this is the giant of the series and the reason why this series has received so much success. It was the first book written and follows two orphaned sisters Sally and Gillian, who must now live with their eccentric aunts in the same Massachusetts town that has haunted their family for generations. It becomes clear that these aunts were two of the children in the previous book.

Although they become increasingly aware of their aunts’ intriguing and magical ways, the two sisters are determined to fit into ‘normal’ society and want nothing to do with their aunts’ mysterious behaviors. 

In an attempt to escape this strange life, one marries and one runs away. But little do they know, that’s not the way the curse works. They will be forced back together and will reach a point where they can no longer deny their magical gifts. 

Practical Magic is a genre-bending book jam-packed with funny, fantastical, eerie, and romantic sections. A great read for anyone, even those who are skeptical about fantasy novels.

The Book of Magic (2021)

The Book of Magic: A Novel (4) (The Practical Magic Series)

This is the final and most recently written book in the series. It perfectly concludes the books that have spanned 300 years worth of generational haunting and will keep you guessing until the very end.

The Book of Magic begins as elderly aunt Jet hears the deathwatch beetle, a sign that she only has days to live. But she soon realizes she is not the only one in danger and to stop the curse, the magical Owens women (plus one unexpected male family member) must team up and journey to England, where their ancestor Maria first used her magic.

The Water Tales Series

This is a series tailored to young adult audiences and follows the lives of two girls, Hailey and Claire as they find a mermaid at the bottom of a pool after a strong storm. While the series incorporates fantasy themes, it is predominantly a story about friendship, love, and growing up. 

Although these two novels are part of Hoffman’s water-based series, the two follow different characters and stories and therefore do not have to be read in any particular order. Here they are listed in order of publication.

Aquamarine (2001)


On the brink of adolescence, childhood best friends Claire and Hailey are enjoying their last summer together before Hailey moves away. After a ferocious storm, the pair find a suspicious creature at the bottom of a local outdoor swimming pool – a mermaid who has journeyed all the way to shore to find true love. 

Claire and Hailey help the mermaid, Aquamarine, explore life as a human and try to set her up with some of the cute guys at school. Aquamarine is beautiful and has no problem attracting the attention of many different boys, but she soon realizes that maybe the love she was desperately searching for wasn’t romantic. 

They must conceal Aquamarine’s true identity, in fear of authorities capturing Aquamarine and keeping her captive for research purposes. In order to hide Aquamarine’s tail, her legs must avoid contact with water, which proves fairly difficult in a coastal town in the middle of summer, where pool parties are commonplace and the beach is the place to socialize.

Aquamarine is a heartwarming, mythologically based story that closely follows as the three girls become inseparable and develop a friendship like no other. 

This book was adapted for the screens in 2006 and became a fun favorite for many young teens and tweens. It stars Emma Roberts, JoJo, and Sara Paxton and was highly popular in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Indigo (2002)


Oak Grove was once severely flooded and as a result, many of its inhabitants are scared of water or refuse to swim. Except for Trevor and Eli, brothers who are nicknamed Trout and Eel because of the thin webbing between their fingers and toes. The boys both dream of exploring oceans far away and are intrigued by the past they can only partially remember.

Their sturdy and fiery friend Martha is desperate to escape the town that holds so many dark memories. Her mother died and her father is crippled by grief, she has little to live for in Oak Grove. So, she is willing to help the boys achieve their dream and wishes to escape with them and travel the world. 

But these three don’t realize that the further they go from home, the more they’ll learn about their past. The boys are only miles away from learning who, and what, they really are.

Indigo is a brilliant book that toys with magical realism and develops themes of identity, escape, emotional strain, and self-improvement. It is tailored for YA readers but can be enjoyed by readers of any age.

The Green Angel Series

This is another YA series, which for some reason received less attention than Aquamarine. It follows 15-year-old Green who is grieving the loss of her parents, so its themes and tone differ significantly from the largely light-hearted approach in her other YA series.

Both of these books are grounded in fantasy and rely heavily on the natural world for its setting and characterizations. 

Green Angel (2003)

Green Angel

After losing her family to an awful disaster, Green struggles to adapt and finds herself constantly engulfed by the past. She isn’t happy and begins to meddle with her identity, losing sight of who she is and who she wants to be. 

Green Angel follows as she slowly deteriorates until a string of mysterious events allows her to heal and experience love again. 

Green Witch (2010)

Green Witch

Structured as a direct sequel to Green Angel, Green Witch focuses on the rebirthing process initiated at the conclusion of the preceding book. 

While Green Angel focused heavily on the trauma and emotional strain attached to grief and loss, Green Witch starts at the point of reinvention and recovery. 

This is a fairly short book, with only approximately 130 pages but it provides an in-depth account of Green’s self-development and allows the reader a suitable conclusion to the story.

Children’s Books

If you’re looking to introduce Hoffman’s work to the younger generation, these picture books are the perfect place to start. They cover topics such as love, animals, the natural world, and family. While these books are now out of print, second-hand copies are widely circulated. 

Fireflies (1997)

Fireflies: A Winter's Tale

Jackie has always been a fairly average boy. He isn’t the best at anything and is constantly overlooked. But when his town gets trapped in what looks to be an eternal winter, Jackie is the only one capable of saving his fellow villagers. 

Fireflies is a story of companionship and self-growth, perfect for any child that has confidence issues.

Horsefly (2000)


Jewel is terrified of pretty much anything. Heights, animals, you name it. But when her grandad gifts her with a weak, tiny foal, things change. She names it Bug, not knowing that this animal will provide her with new experiences and force her out of her comfort zone. 

It doesn’t take Jewel long to realize that Bug can fly, which allows her to explore the world and go on different adventures, but also comes with some drawbacks. Jewel must step up and protect Bug from authorities that seek to exploit Bug’s powers. 

Horsefly is a sweet story that not only appeals to animal lovers but also teaches valuable lessons about confidence, protection, and standing up for what’s right.

Moondog (2003)


Moondog is a charming tale that follows siblings Michael and Hazel, who are woken up just a few nights before Halloween to a loud howling sound. 

In their front yard, they discover a cute puppy and decide to name it Angel. But Angel is not as angelic as the name would suggest. This is a troublesome puppy, who winds up being a werewolf. 


Hoffman has only written one non-fiction book but it’s not one to miss. She covers her cancer diagnosis and all the emotional, physical, and psychological impacts attached. It’s a powerful story that should be read by anyone whose life has been affected by cancer.

Survival Lessons (2013)

Survival Lessons

This non-fiction book hones in on Hoffman’s experience battling and surviving cancer. This novel not only provides insight into the realities of living as a cancer patient but also allows readers to view the world from the perspective of someone close to death. 

Survival Lessons is a perspective-changing, thought-provoking read that sheds light on the smaller joys that are often overlooked by those who are not struggling with health issues.

Short Stories 

These two works are completely separate and are listed only in publication order.

Conjure (2014)


This was written in light of Ray Bradbury’s text Something Wicked This Way Comes. Conjure is Hoffman’s eerie short story that flirts with the horror genre and tells the story of a rumored fallen angel.

The Bookstore Sisters (2022)

The Bookstore Sisters: A Short Story

The Bookstore Sisters is Hoffman’s latest work that follows the events after Isabel Gibson receives a mysterious letter that drags her back to her dark past and unearths secrets that will change the course of her life.

Standalone Novels

Standalone novels make up the majority of Hoffman’s overall repertoire. She has written over 40 books throughout her career and standalone books cover 28 of them. Because each novel tells a different story, the books can be read in any order. But here is a list of her standalone novels in publication order.

  • Property of (1997)
  • The Drowning Season (1979)
  • Angel Landing (1980)
  • White Horses (1982)
  • Fortune’s Daughter (1985)
  • Illumination Night (1987)
  • At Risk (1988)
  • Here on Earth (1990)
  • Seventh Heaven (1990)
  • Turtle Moon (1992)
  • Second Nature (1994)
  • Local Girls (1999)
  • The River King (2000)
  • Blue Diary (2001)
  • The Probable Future (2003)
  • The Ice Queen (2005)
  • The Foretelling (2005)
  • Incantation (2006)
  • Skylight Confessions (2007)
  • The Third Angel (2008)
  • The Story Sisters (2009)
  • The Red Garden (2011)
  • The Dovekeepers (2011)
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things (2014)
  • Nightbird (2015)
  • The Marriage of Opposites (2015)
  • Faithful (2017)
  • The World That We Knew (2019)

Final Thoughts

Alice Hoffman is a reputable, varied author and her work has so much to offer. Whether you’re looking for fantasy, non-fiction, mystery, or children’s books, she really has it all. Her writing style is captivating and she is renowned as an epic storyteller, with an incredibly broad repertoire. 

Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a high chance you’ll find it here. So take a look around and you may find your new favorite book.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Practical Magic film the same as the book?

It follows the same plot line and the same characters but many details are left out in the film. Some of the settings are adapted, as are the characterizations of the aunts. So, if you’ve watched the film and think the book isn’t worth reading, you may find many differences in the book version.

What is Alice Hoffman’s non-fiction book about?

It covers her journey with breast cancer and discusses ‘survivor’s guilt’ in depth. It’s a brilliant read for anyone, regardless of whether your life has been affected by cancer or not, but will be particularly relatable for cancer survivors.

Do you need to read all the Practical Magic books?

If you’re only keen on reading one, read Practical Magic. This book works as a standalone as well as an installment of a series. But all of the books in this series are worth reading in whichever order you choose.

What genre does Alice Hoffman write in?

Hoffman’s writing varies in style and genre but her Practical Magic books have given her a reputation within the magical realism genre.

What are authors like Alice Hoffman?

Ann Patchett, Tracy Chevalier, and Anita Diamant are all very similar to Hoffman in terms of genre and style.

YouTube video
Colton Cowie