Alice Hoffman at the Boston Athenaeum


The Invisible Hour:
A Novel

in conversation with ALEXANDRA MARSHALL

Tickets to the in-person event are sold out, but there are tickets available to view this event virtually.


September 8, 2023
6:30 PM ET


Boston Athenaeum
10-1/2 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108


$5.00-$15.00 view ticketing information below

The Boston Athenaeum and Harvard Book Store welcome ALICE HOFFMAN—New York Times bestselling author of the Practical Magic series—for a discussion of her new novel The Invisible Hour. She will be joined in conversation by Boston author ALEXANDRA MARSHALL. A pre-reception will begin at 6:30pm. The conversation will begin at 7:30pm. 


Tickets for this event are available through the Boston Athenaeum website. If you have any questions about tickets, venue accessibility, or accessing the event virtually, please contact the Boston Athenaeum at Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

Tickets to the in-person event are SOLD OUT. CLICK HERE for tickets to access the event virtually on Zoom. 

There are six ticket options available for this event.

In-Person Tickets

  1. Member Ticket: This ticket is $10.00 and includes admission for one Boston Athenaeum with a Member ID.
  2. Member Guest Ticket:  This ticket is $5.00 and includes admission for one Guest of Boston Athenaeum Members with a Member ID.
  3. Visitor Ticket: This ticket is $15.00 and includes admission for one non-Boston Athenaeum member. 

Virtual Tickets

  1. Member Ticket: This ticket is $5.00 for Boston Athenaeum members with a Member ID and includes a link to view the event virtually on Zoom.
  2. Member Guest Ticket: This ticket is $5.00 for Guests of Boston Athenaeum Members with a Member ID and includes a link to view the event virtually on Zoom.
  3. Visitor Ticket: This ticket is $10.00 for non-Boston Athenaeum members and includes a link to view the event virtually on Zoom.  

About The Invisible Hour

One brilliant June day when Mia Jacob can no longer see a way to survive, the power of words saves her. The Scarlet Letter was written almost two hundred years earlier, but it seems to tell the story of Mia’s mother, Ivy, and their life inside the Community—an oppressive cult in western Massachusetts where contact with the outside world is forbidden, and books are considered evil. But how could this be? How could Nathaniel Hawthorne have so perfectly captured the pain and loss that Mia carries inside her?

Through a journey of heartbreak, love, and time, Mia must abandon the rules she was raised with at the Community. As she does, she realizes that reading can transport you to other worlds or bring them to you, and that readers and writers affect one another in mysterious ways. She learns that time is more fluid than she can imagine, and that love is stronger than any chains that bind you.

As a girl Mia fell in love with a book. Now as a young woman she falls in love with a brilliant writer as she makes her way back in time. But what if Nathaniel Hawthorne never wrote The Scarlet Letter? And what if Mia Jacob never found it on the day she planned to die?

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”

This is the story of one woman’s dream. For a little while it came true.

Praise for The Invisible Hour

"I was immediately immersed in The Invisible Hour. It’s a wonderful story of love and growth, but it’s also a narrative engine of great power. Alice Hoffman is wonderful on stories and writing." —Stephen King, New York Times bestselling author of Fairytale

"What a thrill to discover Nathaniel Hawthorne in the pages of Alice Hoffman’s exquisite new novel, The Invisible Hour! And what delight to experience the melding, across the centuries, of two prodigious American literary imaginations—Hoffman’s and Hawthorne’s—in this redemptive tale of daughters and mothers and one true love for a man and his book." —Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Peabody Sisters, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

"Alice Hoffman's The Invisible Hour is a rich, immersive, magical reading experience. This beautiful novel is about the stories women tell each other and the ones that save us, about the price and peril of motherhood, and the difficulties women have faced throughout history in controlling their own fates. Alice Hoffman, the reigning queen of magical realism, takes her readers on a fantastic, mystical journey that celebrates the joy and power of reading and dares to believe in the impossible." —Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Four Winds

Alexandra Marshall
Alexandra Marshall

Alexandra Marshall

Alexandra Marshall is the author of five novels and two works of nonfiction. In addition to short fiction and essays she has published film criticism, opinion pieces, and travel journalism. In May of this year she presented at The Boston Athenaeum her most recent book, the memoir The Silence of Your Name: The Afterlife of a Suicide.

Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic, The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. The fourth and final novel in the Practical Magic series, The Book of Magic was released in October of 2021.

Photo Credit: Alyssa Peek

Boston Athenaeum
10-1/2 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.


Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

General Info
(617) 661-1515

Media Inquiries

Accessibility Inquiries

Classic Totes

Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs
, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!

Learn More »

Shipping & Pickup

We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!

Learn More »

Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!

Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.

Learn More »