The Gilly Salt Sisters: A Novel

The Gilly Salt Sisters: A Novel

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446557290
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/05/2013
Pages: 383
Sales rank: 1,100,171
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Tiffany Baker is the author of The Gilly Salt Sisters and The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, which was a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She holds an MFA (creative writing) and a PhD (Victorian Literature) from UC Irvine, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

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The Gilly Salt Sisters 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book full of mystery, love and challenges of the human spirit. Would love to read a sequel to this book.
happyreaderKK More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was a must read after the Aberdeen County book and in much ways it was better. A little slow to the start but then watch you will not be able to put it down. Great recommendation from my friend at Barnes and Nobel and it did not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even better than the first book by this author. Could hardly put it down.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE GILLY SALT SISTERS by Tiffany Baker is an interesting contemporary/women's fiction set in Prospect, Massachusetts. A tale of family drama,family relationships,salt miners,revenge,forgiveness,and family secrets. A complex tale of magic that is sure to delight readers of fiction who enjoys a bit of magic and lots of drama. The Gilly Sisters may just find the power of the salt,will alter their lives forever. An interesting story from start to finish. It also has a reading guide at the back. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR,(Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the author's first novel so I was looking forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. The premise of salt being a predictor of good or bad fortune seemed to me at first to be a gimmicky theme and one that would ensure a lightweight story. However, the more I read the more the events and the story behind the salt seemed real. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy a bit of romance with suspense and mystery.
Humbee More than 1 year ago
The Gilly Salt Sisters takes place in a small New England town similar, if not just, Falmouth...near Woods Hole. Of course the original New England colonies were not only populated by puritans and those pious believers in the straight and narrow path, but they were seasoned by island peoples...slaves from the Caribbean, from Africa and from other exotic places where superstition and "witchcraft," magical and mystical things followed them. These characteristics were met with the same that underpined some of those who fled England and Scotland, as well. In Massachusettes, Salem had experienced the witch trials...the areas of Cape Cod and up as far as Gloucester were aware of these things. The people of New England don't easily forget~it's in their blood. Who wouldn't be influenced by the Gilly Salt Sisters? In this novel (and in actuality, as a matter of fact) the salt's unique properties, historic and mystical to begin with, were given a reverence~they were fraught with healing powers, the power to keep and preserve foods and meats, originally the power to exchange like money, to season cooked foods; and, quite mysteriously to change the well-being of businesses and the over all climates of the town. Only the Gilly family and specifically the Gilly women were capable of handling the harshness of the salt marsh, harvesting it and controlling the delivery of the salt throughout the town and region. They were afforded a sort of begruding prominence and fearsomeness in town. Their ability to throw their own bag of salt into the yearly, autumn bonfire to predict the future of the town in a sort of ancient festival, solidified the superstition and mysticism that surrounded them; that made them weird and outcast. Within this confine of prejudice and their wild, muddy marsh of a farm life, Jo and Claire Gilly grew up and struggled with their fates along with their single mother. They are marvelous characters as different as Cain and Able. Jo the Abel of the two: dark-haired, faithful to the marsh and salt, protective of loved ones, strong and rough around the edges. And, Claire; the Cain, weak in spirit, red-haired and tempermental, selfish, working to tear down the salt and all it represents in the town and to her past. Gloriously well developed characters that stand up in realism. So real in fact, that you believe they're actual people. Throughout the book we find abberations in the tale, however, that changes all perceptions. The men and women involved with the Gillys aren't always what they appear to be and the lives of the Gillys and townspeople overlap in a multitude of ways. All this causing their histories to intersect for good and for bad. This is a story rich in family dynamics of love and betrayal, mystery and revelation, mysticism and romance. The sea and the marshes that hem them in play against the gothic themes an cause the book to take on a dark like Poe in some instances. Tiffany Baker knows how and when to pull the strings that deepen our connections with her characters and the momentum surrounding the Gilly Salt Sisters. The spector of mystery and revelation hangs before us as she builds and hints and drops us through Jo's discoveries. But even as the other charcters are brought in and layers are developed, we still remain in the dark until the climax of the book. I love this kind of mystery mixed with a grand and sweeping tale of a family that mysteriously winds its way through a history. A family unwittingly repeating itself until somehow it finally finds a way to break the bond that held it captive. And through that freshly broken wound restores something of itself through a healing, a new trust, a new love and life of hope. Even though grief and punishment remain behind. Even though some of the connections are thin and come from wild roots. The Gilly Salt Sisters is a great book in the order of a sort of Jane Smiley's "Thousand Acres," but I think it's richer and it's dug into more detail. I loved the book and hope you get a chance to read it very soon! 5 stars!! Deborah/TheBookishDame
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just as in her debut best selling, "Little Giant of Aberdeen County", Baker creates a world filled with rich characters, plots with depth of field; and more than a touch of fantasy. Both books are on my "recommended" list; and I look forward to future works by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book! After reading "The Little Giant" I knew I had to read this and it did not disappoint!
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The Tuners and the Gillys, old family residents of Prospect, a village in Cape Cod. The Gillys belong to the salt, salt is the magical element in this book that ties everything together, and the Turners want to own the whole town. Loved the character development in this novel, how they change with the circumstances and the trails they face. Shifting alliances, secrets revealed and tragedies, kept me reading to the end. Love magical realism when it is done well and this one certainly was. Will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman, Aimee Bender and Sarah Addison Allen. Now I need to read Baker's first book.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by Tiffany Baker. I liked her writing style and her story about two sisters living on a salt mine in Cape Cod, MA (the state where I grew up). Baker uses a lot of magical realism and also incorporates some hard-to-believe secrets into the narrative. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would be interested in checking out more books by this author.
LetsBookIt More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I have read by Tiffany Baker - truth be told, I picked it up at the book store because something about the cover 'spoke' to me. Sometimes I make really good impulse buys and this was definitely one of those times. What an enjoyable book! It was a worthwhile escape full of characters that will stick with me. The only issue I had with the story was that I really disliked Dee. I could have done without her completely except that I don't know how else the lives of the other characters could have been shaken up to such a magnificent extent. The 'suprise twist' wasn't much of a suprise to me either. I figured it out pretty early - even so, I enjoyed playing along and watching until all of the players had also figured it out. Along side of a really good story, I enjoyed learning about salt: the salt served to add flavour to the story. Ms Baker skillfuly weaves the salt through the lives of the inhabitants of Prospect. It becomes the tie that binds the people together and also the catalyst that almost destroys them. In answer to Jo's questions: My first memory is having xrays after breaking my collarbone as a young child and crying for my Daddy. I love my husband completely. I thought I'd find a love story - but I found so much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this novel in paperback. Well written, fascinating plot, and I learned a lot about salt. Great work. A+++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the story of the two sisters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Light read.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite There are two Gilly sisters, Jo and Claire. Jo stays much to herself on the salt farm. She was strong, stern, hardworking and loyal to the family’s tradition of farming salt. Claire was outgoing, egotistic, attractive and popular; her desire was to leave the farm behind and she was willing to sacrifice anything to achieve her goal. The community was half frightened of the Gilly’s. Often they wondered if the family were witches. Whitt Turner pursues Jo and seems half in love with her but Jo will have none of it, so he turns to Claire. Claire sees the opportunity to escape the salt and grabs it. What she gains maybe worse than what she leaves. After a marital incident Claire finds herself back on the Gilly Salt Farm along with a young pregnant woman. Can the broken bond between the sisters be repaired? Can a young selfish pregnant woman see beyond the immediate to the future? It took me a couple of chapters to get into "The Gilly Sisters" but after that it held me captive to the end. The reader knows there are secrets but has to wait until Tiffany Baker decides to reveal them. It was delightful to watch as the sisters evolved from young children to mature adults. Tiffany Baker is an extremely talented author; she has characterization down to an art. She even developed the secondary characters. While Jo was my favorite, I grew to like Claire once I began to understand her. I would like to see Baker do a sequel to this book. I found it fascinating and I want more!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Tiffany Baker has delivered the essence of literary eloquence in her latest novel, The Gilly Salt Sisters. On December’s eve each year, the townspeople gather at Tappert’s Green to watch the bon fire. The draw isn’t so much to watch a pile of timber dwindle to ashes as much as its purpose is to witness the tossing of the salt and rising of the smoke; the salt’s color being a critical and defining moment. If the fire flashes blue, the town will prosper in the coming year. A yellow flare means change is on the horizon. It is understated to say black smoke is more than undesirable. The small Cape Cod community of Prospect’s prophecy for the coming year rests in the color of the smoke. Even though the Gilly’s (Jo, Claire and mama) supply the salt, they aren’t welcome to stay. Rather, their role is to toss the salt into the fire and then it’s time to leave. When she was barely six, Claire Gilly had her debut tossing of the salt. How unfortunate once the crackles and pops subsided, a stream of coal black smoke rose high into the night in its aftermath. Longer than time itself, the clearest imaginary line had been drawn between the Gilly’s and Ida Turner and her son, Whit—on one side was have and the other, have not. It was no challenge to figure the have part out. It belonged to the Turners. Their strapping estate perched high atop Plover Hill was merely a portion of their holdings once the majority of town ownership was factored in. The have not belonged to the Gilly’s and their series of salt flats that made up Salt Creek Farm. Jo learned to accept her fate early on in life—especially after those very flats took her brother Henry’s life at the tender age of eight. Claire, on the other hand, was on a vengeance to escape once she was old enough. She refused to accept the lousy poker hand she was dealt that doubled as her life. Even after the love of her life left her for his greater calling—a lifetime of worship and devotion to God, she still managed to find a way out. Tiffany Baker deserves to be proud of the beautiful prose and heart-felt literary fiction she has delivered across the pages of The Gilly Salt Sisters. As a writer, I must confess her ability is enviable. I often found myself reading and re-reading certain passages she had written—not because I couldn’t follow the premise. Rather, I wanted to experience the passage one more time before moving on with the story. Ms. Baker is a true master when it comes to blending situation and feeling together and delivering the two in the form of words; specifically with sentences such as: “…It cheered her to remember that there was something even colder and harder in the world than a Cape sky turning to winter…” Having lived on the Cape for a spell years ago, I had an instant connection to the tone and purpose of the mood she intended to deliver. Winter is stark and bone-chilling on the Cape and Ms. Baker successfully pulled off the mood with her analogy whether (or not) one had ever been to the Cape. Her attention to details with each of her (many) flawed (and extremely likable) characters made this reader want more and then some. It is also enjoyably entertaining to read between the lines of the story and question the possibility of salt having the many magical components she eludes it to have. Regardless, The Gilly Salt Sisters is a wonderful and charming story with terrific literary merit. Well done Ms. Baker! I do look forward to your next novel. Quill says: The Gilly Salt Sisters is a captivating tale of family with a sprinkle or two of magic and without question, more than a dash to keep the reader hooked—truly a well written and engaging novel.