She loved the look, the heft, the weight, the smell, and the fact of books—all those miniature embodiments of other lives, other times. Thoughts and dreams preserved for posterity, to be summoned back to life through the act of reading. [pg 37, Silver Bough]
Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle
Fantasy; 337 pgs
First Sentence: Ashley Kaldis leaned her head against the cool glass and gazed through the bus window at the Glasgow streets.
Reason for Reading: I requested Silver Bough from a long list of possible books to review for Curled Up With a Good Book. I have The Mysteries sitting on my TBR shelf and have wanted to try something by the author for a while now.
Comments: Once a prosperous coastal town in Scotland, Appleton was a magical place. Famous for its apples and its traditions, Appleton has slowly been declining over the years. The orchards are gone, the tourists are fewer, and people are more likely to leave than move in.
For three American women, however, the town is exactly what they are seeking. There is nineteen-year-old Ashley Kaldis, a young woman who seeks some sort of peace and direction after the death of her best friend. She sets out to Scotland from Texas to trace her roots, learning more about her grandmother, Phemie, who fled the small town so many years before, a woman whose origins were a tightly guarded secret until her death.
Kathleen Mullaroy is recently divorced and Appleton’s new librarian. She is a take charge person who has dreams of bringing the library into the 21st Century. Kathleen takes great comfort among the books and the mysteries of the library and museum, a landmark of a building created by the town’s own Alexander Wall. The charm of the town and library drew her right in.
Nell Westray seeks refuge in Appleton after the death of her much loved husband. She and her husband had once spent some of their happiest moments in the coastal town. Nell finds comfort in her garden and among her apples, keeping to herself mostly, afraid of getting close to anyone.
When an earthquake causes a landslide on the only road into and out of town, the visitors and residents of Appleton find themselves cut off from the rest of the world. Suddenly things around Appleton begin to change; myths become reality and the ancient magicks of the area reclaim the land. Ashley, Kathleen, and Nell have front row seats to the events that are about to unfold in the lazy coastal town of Appleton. The fate of the town lies in the destiny of one very special golden apple.
From the very first moment the bus drove into Appleton, I was ready to quit my job, pack my bags and move to the quaint little coastal town. Lisa Tuttle has painted a charming and magical place with her words. The setting itself is perhaps the strongest and most well developed character. At times it overshadows the characters themselves. Appleton is a place that will draw readers in and mesmerize them. The history of the fictional town itself is fascinating. The author draws on Scottish folklore to help tell her story.
The more minor characters, although not really minor at all, make the novel even more intriguing. There is the young Mario whose family sent him to Appleton to escape his past; Graeme, the town’s postman, whose knowledge of the coastal town is boundless and whose curiosity about it is insatiable; Dave the songwriter who is the town celebrity; and the mysterious and sexy traveler who has come home after years of being away.
The magic begins in a very subtle way and gradually builds as the novel goes on. The author deftly introduces it both to the readers and her main characters, and the climax will not disappoint. Whether a reader connects with one or all of the characters in Silver Bough, there is something for everyone in this enchanting fairy tale. Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Wendy Runyon, 2007
Favorite Part: As mentioned above, I just loved the town of Appleton. I would love to wander the stacks in the library, browse through the museum and take in all the mysteries it holds. And who could resist being right on the coast? Appleton sounds like a wonderful place to settle down—if only it was real.
Note about the Author: American author Lisa Tuttle lives in Scotland with her family. In 1981, Ms. Tuttle was the first and only author to decline a Nebula award for her short story, "The Bone Flute." She had withdrawn her story before the winners had been announced (before she even knew her story would win) as a protest to the way the Nebula Awards were run and the winners selected.