Friday, July 13, 2012

The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle

The Silver Bough was a recent treasure I found, thanks to the recommendation of a friend -- I'd never even heard of it.  Featuring an ancient and mysterious library, a strange blessing/curse tied up with apple trees, and a misty island that is half in and half out of this world: it was just my cup of tea.

Kathleen leaves her big-city library job to take over a position in tiny, declining Appleton, which was once famous for its apples (go figure) but no longer seems to have much of a crop or anything else to offer tourists.      Ashley visits her distant relatives and learns the story of how her grandmother left the town and rejected the blessing that kept Appleton prosperous.  And Nell has come to find peace and solace after the death of her husband, and her work toward restoring the apple orchard at the estate she purchased sets a chain of events in motion that will change the fate of the town.

The three women's lives weave in and out of each other's, and that of the town itself.  When Appleton gets cut off from the rest of the world after a mudslide, blocking the only access road, strange events start to affect all the locals and visitors....

This was a real gem, and definitely recommended if you want something that touches on the otherworldly and mythy.  It's not a straightforward folktale retelling but draws on many of the familiar elements and creates it's own fantastically atmospheric setting.  I think this one will appeal to fans of Charles de Lint or Juliet Marillier.


  1. I just discovered your blog from Spinning Straw into Gold and have started following. The Silver Bough sounds amazing - I've never heard of it before, so thank you for reviewing it. You might also enjoy reading the story posted on my blog, The Black Dionysia. It is a collage of classic myth and fairy tale as well as sci-fi and contemporary fiction. In some ways it reads like a collection of short stories and flash fiction, in others as a prolonged meditation. If you're interested here's a link to the prologue.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. Glad you're enjoying the blog. :)