The Silver Bough
Lisa Tuttle
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Buy *The Silver Bough* by Lisa Tuttle

The Silver Bough
Lisa Tuttle
368 pages
December 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Once a prosperous coastal town in Scotland, Appleton was a magical place. Famous for its apples and its traditions, Appleton has been in a slow decline over the years. The orchards are gone, the tourists are fewer, and people are more likely to leave than to move in.

For three American women, however, the town is exactly what they are seeking. Nineteen-year-old Ashley Kaldis 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, a take-charge type who has dreams of bringing the library into the twenty-first 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 have drawn her right in.

Nell Westray seeks refuge in Appleton after the death of her beloved husband, with whom she spent some of her 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 whose fate 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 town. Lisa Tuttle paints a charming, magical place with her words. The setting itself is perhaps the strongest and most well-developed character in The Silver Bough, at times overshadowing the characters themselves. Appleton draws readers in and mesmerizes 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 truly minor at all, make the novel even more intriguing. There is 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, 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 The Silver Bough, there is something for everyone in this enchanting fairy tale.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Wendy Runyon, 2007

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