The Gilly Salt Sisters

The Gilly Salt Sisters

4.3 15
by Tiffany Baker
     
 

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The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's

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Overview

The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire—heartbroken over her high school sweetheart—who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County comes this quirky and uneven novel set on Cape Cod’s salt marshes and the family salt farm of the Gilly sisters, Jo and Claire. After the deaths of their brother, Henry, and later, their mother, Claire sets a barn on fire, and as a result, badly scars her older sister. She then marries into the town’s most prominent and acquisitive family, leaving Jo to run the failing farm on her own. The prologue establishes the novel’s strong gothic overtones, especially Jo’s memories of the town’s annual scrying, a fortune-telling practice in which she was required to throw salt into a bonfire to predict events for the coming year, with unhappy results. Though the contrast between familiar, universal conflicts and the forays into the mysteries of the elemental sometimes works against the narrative, the characters and Baker’s prose engage. (Mar.)
Brunonia Barry
"Tiffany Baker's novel has grit and polish and some salt of its own. It's a beautifully written tale about the resourceful and determined connection of women. The Gilly Salt sisters are a brackish bunch-definitely my kind of people."
Eleanor Brown
Praise for The Gilly Salt Sisters:

"Tiffany Baker has done it again: The Gilly Salt Sisters is both deliciously, magically, strange and heartrendingly familiar, a beautiful and bewitching story of the elements that bind us to each other-family, love, loss, and memory. I was pulled into its world on the very first page and wanted to stay forever."

Kathleen Kent
"Like a delicious meal, Tiffany Baker offers up a wonderful blend of devastating family secrets, loves lost and found, revenge, forgiveness, and more than a pinch of long-held family magic."
Erica Bauermeister
"The Gilly Salt Sisters captivates from its opening paragraph-a story of rivalry, love, and unredeemable greed set against a Cape Cod salt marsh that demands hard work and gives luck (good and bad) in return. Baker's scenes and characters are rich and compelling, touched with a magical realism which, like salt, enhances their flavor. Fans of Alice Hoffman will rejoice at finding Tiffany Baker."
Stephanie Turza

"A heartfelt tale of family relationships, small-town drama, and new opportunities. Jo and Claire are well-drawn, finely crafted characters, and Baker adeptly describes the fractious and multilayered relationship the sisters have with one another. The imagery of Cape Cod is gorgeously rendered, leaving the reader with a fully immersive picture of the insular village. Loyal readers of Anita Shreve, Maeve Binchy, and Alice Hoffman should enjoy this poignant, lush, and well-written tale of family secrets, revenge, forgiveness, and connections not easily severed."

Nancy Fontaine
"Fans of Baker's acclaimed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County won't be disappointed with this quirky, complex, and original tale. It is also sure to enchant readers who enjoy Alice Hoffman and other authors of magical realism."
From the Publisher
"

A heartfelt tale of family relationships, small-town drama, and new opportunities. Jo and Claire are well-drawn, finely crafted characters, and Baker adeptly describes the fractious and multilayered relationship the sisters have with one another. The imagery of Cape Cod is gorgeously rendered, leaving the reader with a fully immersive picture of the insular village. Loyal readers of Anita Shreve, Maeve Binchy, and Alice Hoffman should enjoy this poignant, lush, and well-written tale of family secrets, revenge, forgiveness, and connections not easily severed."—Stephanie Turza, Booklist"

Fans of Baker's acclaimed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County won't be disappointed with this quirky, complex, and original tale. It is also sure to enchant readers who enjoy Alice Hoffman and other authors of magical realism."—Nancy Fontaine, Library Journal"

Tiffany Baker's novel has grit and polish and some salt of its own. It's a beautifully written tale about the resourceful and determined connection of women. The Gilly Salt sisters are a brackish bunch-definitely my kind of people."—Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places

Praise for The Gilly Salt Sisters: "

Tiffany Baker has done it again: The Gilly Salt Sisters is both deliciously, magically, strange and heartrendingly familiar, a beautiful and bewitching story of the elements that bind us to each other-family, love, loss, and memory. I was pulled into its world on the very first page and wanted to stay forever."—Eleanor Brown, author of The Weird Sisters"

Like a delicious meal, Tiffany Baker offers up a wonderful blend of devastating family secrets, loves lost and found, revenge, forgiveness, and more than a pinch of long-held family magic."—Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter and The Wolves of Andover"

The Gilly Salt Sisters captivates from its opening paragraph-a story of rivalry, love, and unredeemable greed set against a Cape Cod salt marsh that demands hard work and gives luck (good and bad) in return. Baker's scenes and characters are rich and compelling, touched with a magical realism which, like salt, enhances their flavor. Fans of Alice Hoffman will rejoice at finding Tiffany Baker."—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients

Library Journal
The residents of the small Cape Cod town Prospect have odd ways, not least of which is the annual December Eve (November 30) bonfire. The community gathers to watch one of the Gilly women, owners of Salt Creek Farm, throw their salt on the flames. Blue means a good year to come, red means love, and black means bad news. The salt has other magical properties as well, like creating or withholding success for businesses that stock it. Feared as possible witches rather than loved, the Gillys are respected by everyone but the wealthy Turners, who own most of Prospect. Producing the salt is backbreaking work, but Jo Gilly seems made for the job; she not only works the salt, she knows it inside and out. Her sister, Claire, is the opposite, eager to leave the farm. VERDICT Fans of Baker's acclaimed The Little Giant of Aberdeen County won't be disappointed with this quirky, complex, and original tale. It is also sure to enchant readers who enjoy Alice Hoffman and other authors of magical realism. [See Prepub Alert, 9/26/11.]—Nancy Fontaine, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH
Kirkus Reviews
In her second novel, Baker (The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, 2009) follows the lives of two sisters whose family has always harvested salt that may or may not have magical powers over their Cape Cod community. The town of Prospect (a town unbelievably untouched by modern life or tourists) depends on salt from the Gilly Salt Creek Farm for luck; the residents read their futures in the colors rising from Gilly salt thrown on the annual bonfire. Although the Gillys attend the same Catholic Church as everyone else in town, the feared power of their salt makes them permanent outsiders. As the book opens, the Gilly sisters have grown estranged. Younger, pretty Claire has married local rich boy (and her sister Jo's former boyfriend) Whit Turner, and joined local society, while Jo remains on the struggling farm. Why is Whit so anxious to buy Jo out and Claire so anxious to turn people against Jo's salt? Flashbacks show Jo has always been committed to harvesting the salt since her childhood in the 1950s, while book-smart Claire always wanted desperately to get away. Jo's one childhood playmate was Whit, son of the wealthiest family in town. Whit's mother wanted the children to have nothing to do with each other, and Jo's mother was equally unenthusiastic. Shortly before charming but headstrong Whit left town for boarding school, he tried to proclaim his love to Jo. But having learned a family secret—one that most readers will guess way too soon—Jo broke off their budding romance. Years later, after Claire's boyfriend broke her heart by becoming a priest, a newly returned Whit wooed her. Twelve years later their marriage has soured. Then Whit begins an affair with a lonely young girl who has recently arrived in Prospect. When she becomes pregnant, Whit shows his darker side and all hell breaks loose. There are two fires, one accidental and one perhaps unintentionally lethal, before a discomfortingly amoral happy ending. Baker's gift for richly embroidered fantasy only partially compensates for the novel's inconsistency. Alice Hoffman–lite.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446194235
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
03/14/2012
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

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