3 Best Authors Like Alice Hoffman (Magical Realism & Historical Fiction)

Alice Hoffman is an author who has successfully entered the literary marketplace in multiple genre categories.

Not only does she write novels aimed at adults, but she has also published books for young adults and even children. She has published more than 30 books in total.

Authors Like Alice Hoffman (3 Writers of Magical Realism and Historical Fiction)

With that being said, most of the bestselling author’s work falls into the category of magical realism. This means that Hoffman often introduces elements of magic and fantasy into real-world settings in her writing.

Hoffman began her professional life in the field of publishing, but she started writing novels in the mid-1970s.

Her first book, Property Of, was published in 1977, but it wasn’t until 1995 that Hoffman really made it big, with her most celebrated novel to date: Practical Magic.

Since the publication of Practical Magic, which earned Hoffman the title of New York Times Bestseller, Hoffman has been known as one of the best writers of magical realism in recent memory.

But if you’re looking for more authors who deal in similar themes, we have a shortlist to recommend.

Have you been enthralled by the magical realism of Alice Hoffman’s novels? We know the feeling.

If you’re looking for more reading material similar to Alice Hoffman’s work, you should also read the works of Alix E. Harrow, Anita Diamant and Deborah Harkness.

Books By Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

As we mentioned earlier, Alice Hoffman’s most famous work is Practical Magic (1995).

Practical Magic was by no means Hoffman’s first novel – on the contrary, she published no less than 10 novels prior to this one – but it’s the one that achieved the most success.

It tells the story of two sisters who are witches in the real world, following their journey from childhood into the trials and tribulations that come with navigating adulthood as women.

Since the publication of Practical Magic, Hoffman has gone on to write both prequels and sequels to the novel.

In 2017, she published The Rules of Magic, which is a prequel to the bestseller. She wrote another prequel (Magic Lessons) in 2020, and in 2022, The Book of Magic was released as a sequel. This is Hoffman’s most recent novel to date.

Some of Alice Hoffman’s most famous works published before and since Practical Magic include The Museum of Extraordinary Things (2014) which sees the mermaid protagonist used as an act in her father’s freak show exhibit, and The Marriage of Opposites (2015), which falls into the historical fiction category and is a tale of forbidden love.

Other historical fiction novels by Alice Hoffman for those readers who wish to branch out of magical realism include The Dovekeepers (2011), which is set during the siege of Masada, and The World That We Knew (2019) which unfolds in Berlin during the Second World War.

Authors Like Alice Hoffman

Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The works of Alix E. Harrow generally contain a blend of genres, including historical fiction, fantasy, and magical realism. Therefore, fans of almost any Alice Hoffman novel are likely to enjoy Harrow’s writing, too.

Harrow has only published 2 novels to date: The Ten Thousand Doors of January (2019) and The Once and Future Witches (2020).

She has also written 2 novellas and multiple pieces of short fiction, but her novels are what she is most famous for as a writer.

The Once and Future Witches

Alice Hoffman fans are especially likely to enjoy The Once and Future Witches, which takes place in the real world – but an alternate version of it. In this historical timeline, in New Salem, magic exists, but it is illegal to practice it.

However, this does not stop a group of three sisters from joining forces to break the law with the aim of making the world a safer and more accepting place for women and witches everywhere.

We also recommend The Ten Thousand Doors of January to Alice Hoffman fans. It’s set later than The Once and Future Witches, in the early 1900s, but it can still be considered a work of both historical fiction and magical realism.

In the story, the protagonist discovers a book that allows her to pass through hidden doors into other worlds.

This novel can also be classified under the genres of mystery and fantasy, so it’s a great read for those who enjoy suspense and magic in literature.


  • Believable and polished writing – Enjoyable to read
  • Not too dark despite thriller and mystery genres – Suitable for all readers
  • Explores relevant themes – Relatable in the present day


  • Quite slow-paced – Readers may feel impatient in places

Themes: Magic, history, sisterhood, social justice, overcoming adversity

Anita Diamant

The Red Tent

Anita Diamant has written several successful novels over the course of her career as an author, which began in 1997 with the publication of her first book, The Red Tent (1997).

The Red Tent is a perfect example of the style, genres and themes found within Diamant’s work. Like many of Diamant’s novels, The Red Tent is a reimagining of history and can be considered a work of historical fiction based on the character of Dinah in the Bible.

There are also elements of magical realism in the story, so in terms of genre, this is the perfect fit for Alice Hoffman fans.

The Boston Girl: A Novel

Another very different book by Anita Diamant that fans of Alice Hoffman’s historical fiction may also enjoy is The Boston Girl. Like Practical Magic, this is very much a coming-of-age story, although it deals specifically with the experience of growing up as a Jewish woman in the early 1900s, so like The Red Tent, it also has religious themes.


  • Beautiful writing – Vivid and captivating
  • Fascinating commentary – Fresh and insightful takes on religion
  • Powerful storytelling – Moving and emotional


  • Some controversial aspects – Some readers have taken offense to certain character portrayals in The Red Tent

Themes: Religion, oppression, womanhood, coming of age, nature, childbirth

Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Series)

Deborah Harkness is a fascinating author whose career began as a medicine and science historian. She is also a student of the occult, including alchemy, and her knowledge of all of these subjects is clear in her fiction writing.

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Bk 2) (All Souls Series)

Harkness is best known for her book series, All Souls, which comprises 4 novels: A Discovery of Witches (2011), Shadow of Night (2012), The Book of Life (2014), and Time’s Convert (2018).

The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Series)

The narrative begins in the first book with a witch and a vampire being unexpectedly brought together by a manuscript.

Time's Convert: A Novel (All Souls Series)

Deborah Harkness’ All Souls series has been praised by fans of magical realism, fantasy, and historical fiction alike.

Thanks to her studies in the field of history, the historical aspects of the novels are very accurate and portray the world of the past in a realistic way while expertly weaving in elements of magic and romance.


  • Accurate historical portrayals – Enjoyable for history students
  • Expertly-written magical realism – Believable fantasy elements
  • Explores themes relevant to the present day – Relatable to modern-day readers


  • Slow-paced narrative – Much of the plot unfolds at the end

Themes: Prejudice, acceptance, choice, identity

Final Thoughts

Alice Hoffman’s works can largely be divided into two genres: magical realism and historical fiction. Therefore, fans of this author’s work will enjoy the books of Deborah Harkness, Anita Diamant, and Alix E (see also “Authors Like Yasmine Galenorn“). Harrow.

All of the above authors employ magical realism in their works to a certain extent, although they can all also be considered authors of historical fiction (If you like historical fiction, check out Fantastic Books Like The White Queen).

However, many of the historical settings in these writers’ works are reimagined in order to make room for magical and fantastical elements.

Many of the same themes are explored throughout these authors’ works. Womanhood and sisterhood feature prominently in the writings of Hoffman, Diamant and Harrow.

Harkness, Diamant and Harrow all explore the theme of prejudice and social justice to some degree, which can also be said of several of Hoffman’s historical fiction works.

Religious themes and commentary can be found in both Harrow and Diamant’s works as well.

While many of the books by our three suggested authors are slower-paced than Hoffman’s bestselling Practical Magic, they are just as gripping and equally as moving (see also “Authors Like Lara Adrian“).

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind Of Author Is Alice Hoffman?

Although Alice Hoffman has written plenty of excellent historical fiction, she is mostly known for her magical realism, found in works such as Practical Magic and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

In What Order Should I Read Alice Hoffman’s Books?

There is nothing wrong with reading Alice Hoffman’s books in the order in which they are written.

However, when it comes to Practical Magic and related novels, you may wish to read them in chronological order, starting with Magic Lessons and ending with The Book of Magic.

Is Alice Hoffman A Good Writer?

Alice Hoffman is a very skilled writer who has been recognized as a New York Times Bestseller and whose work has been adapted for the big screen as well as for television.

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Anna Davis