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The Gilly Salt Sisters Hardcover – March 14, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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

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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (March 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446194239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446194235
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,748,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tiffany Baker is the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children, and holds a PhD in Victorian Literature and an MFA from UC-Irvine.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Comment 13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The Gilly Salt Sisters was one of those books that took me FOREVER to read. I don't really know what it was about it. My overall feeling towards it was generally positive. It just wasn't one of those books that really grabbed me and held me and made me never want to put it down.

The book revolves around the mystical power of the salt that the Gilly family produces. This concept is never really fully explained though. Is it really magical or is the entire town just reacting as though it is? Are the Gilly women witches? Is the land cursed or bewitched? It was all questioned in the book, but never really answered. I guess that was left up to the reader to decide. I suppose that would make it a good book club book.

Personally, I didn't accept the relationship that developed between Claire and Dee. I don't want to give out any spoilers here, but they are the least likely of friends and they end up living together. I didn't buy it. Claire's return to the salt farm was a little bit of a stretch for me too. Despite the circumstances that brought her back, it didn't seem like she would so easily return to something that she had been fighting so hard against for so long.

Like I said though, my overall feeling toward this book is positive. The setting of a New England salt farm was unique. While the first half of the book was somewhat slow, the second half was a lot more interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
Baker's novel is drawn directly from the land, a way of life as entrenched as the family history of Salt creek Farm on Cape Cod, secrets of the past dormant until the estrangement of sisters Joanna and Claire Gilly. While the salt marsh defines the parameters of their world, it is the sisters' differences that create a fault line through their relationship. Joanna understands the demands of the salt, accepts the hardships, even the superstitions that connect the Gillys to the town of Prospect. Claire, on the other hand, is constitutionally discontent, dreaming of escape from a grinding future with few rewards, appalled by her family's endless toil, the color leeched from her mother by years in the glare of the sun. Unlike the dark-haired Jo, Claire has white skin and flaming locks, her heart set on a local fisherman's son, Ethan Stone: "She didn't desire love, not until it caught her by surprise, opening up a greed in her so gaping and huge that she became a thief just to fill it."

Joanna's best friend since childhood is Whit Turner, son of Ida, Prospect's wealthiest maven and arbiter of town opinions. But there are years of enmity between the Turners and the Gillys, secrets buried in the bitter hearts of Ida Turner and Sarah Gilly rendering the territory between the families uninhabitable. Baker builds a provocative tale of familial division on the porous rocks of memory and desire, the misperception of circumstances, the weighty history of Salt Creek Farm, a family curse, a tragic fire, a vocation and an impulsive marriage tainted by greed. It is a cautionary tale beautifully rendered, with vivid images of salt, sky, love turned sour and beginnings forged of necessity. Two families bear the seeds of poisonous fruit from one generation to the next, the sun-scorched marsh contrasting with the dark grandeur of the Turner estate. But this is the story of the Gilly sisters, how they lost their way and how salt heals the most disfiguring of wounds. Luan Gaines/2012.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love a book with complex, flawed characters, and so I know the sisters in this novel are going to stick with me for a long time. The story is richly textured and the writing is beautiful. I loved how Baker took the idea of salt getting into everything and intensifying already present flavors, and how that idea played out in the relationships....Definitely one for the "keeper" shelf.
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