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  • Tracy Sherlock

Review: Alice Hoffman's The Invisible Hour full of family, love and magic

The Invisible Hour

By Alice Hoffman

Simon & Schuster

Alice Hoffman writes beautiful stories about women, and love, and sometimes magic. Her most recent book, The Invisible Hour, comes out this month, and it contains all three.

The Invisible Hour is a reimagining of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, written in 1850 and the story of an unwed mother who shunned and made to wear a red letter A to mark her as an adulteress.

The Invisible Hour takes place in modern times, for the most part, though a bit of time travel, a.k.a. magic, is involved. It’s the story of Mia Jacob and her mother, Ivy, who becomes pregnant without being married. Ivy soon becomes involved in a puritanical cult, where her baby is born and raised. From there, I won’t reveal any plot points, but trust me, there are women, and love and magic. Oh, and there’s a starring role for libraries, reading and books, another common Hoffman theme.

Hoffman’s most well-known novel is Practical Magic, which was made into a 1998 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. That book is part of a not-to-be-missed series, among Hoffman’s more than 30 novels. My absolute favourites are The Red Garden, a series of linked short stories that all involve the same garden filled with a variety of red plants, and The Blue Diary, the story of a secret life. Another notable Hoffman novel is The Dovekeepers, which tells the story of the Jewish stronghold of Masada during a Roman war against the Jewish people in about 70 C.E., and is a stunning work of historical storytelling.

If you’re looking for a compelling story about love and family and the power of storytelling, look no further. The Invisible Hour will transport you to a magical time and place.

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