Practical Magic has entered the realm of books on my favorites list. I just finished reading it a week ago and loved it even more than I would have if I had read it at another time during the year because it's a good summer read. The subject of magic and love and the descriptions of the East Coast surround you and transport you to the Owens' front yard.
To try to sum it up, this book is about the Owens women who have been branded by their little town as witches (which is not entirely untrue)- Gillian and Sally Owens were forced to live with their two Aunts when their parents were killed in a fire that destroyed their home. Though the girls are sisters, they could not be more unlike each other (in all things except for their beauty). Sally is dependable, rational, and cautious while Gillian is hell on wheels, a flirt and lazy. Through each girls' experience we learn about the Owens women and why it seems that trouble is always just around the corner for them. The girls quickly learn that in the Aunts' home, as long as they are kept alone to do their work, they can do whatever they want, which launches Sally into the role of a homemaker and Gillian into her role of spoiled brat (who leaves a wake of exes in her path).
The ideas of magic and love are tossed around throughout the novel, and as the book goes on we read how each sister approaches love: Gillian is stuck in an abusive relationship that she can only get out of with the help of her sister, and once Sally's husband dies, leaving her alone with two daughters (who just so happen to be mini-replicas of herself and Gillian), she bans any form of love that comes her way. If anything, this novel teaches us about love and magic, and what happens when we refuse to recognize either. I loved this book, and I loved it so much that I'm definitely considering reading it every year at about this time.