Reviewing a book I haven’t read

After reading the Amazon sample of Green Angel by Alice Hoffman, I can answer in the affirmative that the sample tells me all I need to know about the book. If I hadn’t read much of Hoffman’s previous work, I could probably be persuaded to buy Green Angel, and I would probably enjoy it very much.

Already having read a number of previous Hoffman novels, I would still probably enjoy Green Angel if I read the full story, but, having already consumed a lot of Hoffman fiction, especially Practical Magic, the sample is enough to show me that I don’t need to read Green Angel.

It looks good. It looks well-written and immersing. The problem is, it’s not the first time Hoffman’s written this set of characters. It’s not even the second. I read a few pages of Green Angel on my Kindle and mentally shouted, “She’s writing Sally and Gillian Owens again!”

The similarities between Green and Arora in Green Angel and Sally and Gillian in Practical Magic are so obvious as to be frankly offensive. If Hoffman’s found a basic model for storytelling that works like gangbusters every time for her, I don’t fault her for that, but could she at least try switching up the hair colors on her sisters?

There are basically three novels by Alice Hoffman that I can recommend: Practical Magic, Second Nature and The River King. Everything else is either a shameless recycling of themes and/or characters that she’s done already, or it’s not very interesting. I like the magical realism that Hoffman tends to write, and I’m cool with the maiden/mother/crone archetype that keeps cropping up, but the brunette/blond sisters are ready to retire.