by Tiffany Baker
Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: March 14, 2012
Book received from: Publisher
The story of The Gilly Salt Sisters revolves around the belief of there being mystical powers from the salt that the family has produced for centuries. The stories and legends of the powers the salt holds and has over others has been shared for generations, and perpetuated by both the town and the Gillys themselves. Their salt is used to foretell the future of the town, as well as those that inhabit the town. However, even though the townspeople have accepted the power of the salt, it has caused the Gilly women to be outcast from the community.
The Gilly sisters, Claire and Jo must each live with the legacy of the salt in her own way. While Claire goes to great lengths to sever all connections with the salt and her family, Jo is forced to stay behind and keep the family business running, trapped in a life that happened to her. There is a great deal of family history to sort through, and when young newcomer Dee finds herself living in the town, the lives of all three women begin to unfold and unravel. It is through their stories and the discoveries of one another’s secrets that they learn about themselves as well. The connections these women share cause them to be bound each other in ways they never imagined.
While the first part of the book was very reminiscent of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, and served to flush out the characters and bring the reader into their lives, the second half lagged behind. The history of how the Gilly sisters got to where they are today is very important to the storyline. However, Baker gets so tied up in the past that the present is lost in the telling of it all. By the end, none of the characters are particularly likeable, and one may feel as though too much was told without enough reason. There is a fine line between just enough information and too much information, and this seems to be a case of the latter.
The Gilly Salt Sisters is a good book. There is nothing really bad about, but nothing that grabs the reader either. By the time I finished it, I was glad I finished it, but upset at the same time, because it felt so rushed at the end. The slightly mysterious, almost witchy quality of the Gilly women that was set up in the beginning of the story was nearly forgotten by the middle. I thought I was really going to like this book, and I wanted to like it, but there was just too much extra storyline trying to explain away the mysterious qualities- and that was the best part of the book. Baker needs to learn to let her characters tell the story as it unfolds, instead of trying to lay it all out on the table. Because, sometimes, a mysterious, perhaps witchy, woman is just what we all need.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Tiffany Baker, go to her website here.