Alice Hoffman, who earlier wrote Practical Magic, seems to have simply redone her first book under a slightly different name. Key plot elements remain the same:
- Book centers around a strong Matrilinear family
- Most of the book happens in one small town
- Multiple generations of the women are included in the book
- All the women in the family have one magical trait
- The main female lead has two marriages, the second being the "true love"
I really could go on. As I was reading The Probable Future, I kept having flashbacks into Practical Magic, even though its been a couple of years since I read that book. To clarify, both novels/sisters/family only have very little magical ability (or fantasy-ness, if you will), but perhaps it is dwelt on a little more in The Probable Future.
While Alice Hoffman is a good writer, it doesn't seem like this writing is fresh or new or any different than her first book. Since the first book won accolades and got made into a movie with Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, etc, perhaps the author decided to stick to the winning formula.
This predictable novel does have some superbly-crafted descriptions, and had some heart-tugging emotions ably written. However, they only served to highlight the trite storyline.
Between the two, Practical Magic was better entertainment, poetic (-er?) writing style and more fun to read.