Book Review: The Gilly Salt Sisters

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.

Who doesn’t love a good secret? I think it’s a part of our human nature to sometimes be curious about the lives and pasts of those we encounter in our daily lives. We just can’t help it! So let me share a little secret with you now… The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker is an amazing read that anyone with a love of secrets and dark family pasts will absolutely love! From page one I was drawn into the lives of Jo and Claire Gilly, two sisters who have been estranged from one another for over twelve years. By alternating the narrative between the viewpoints of Jo and Claire, the reader is slowly given pieces of their past to put together, as hidden family secrets become revealed chapter by chapter. 

One of the things I loved most about The Gilly Salt Sisters was the fact that Tiffany Baker really focused on the development of her characters. As Claire and Jo reflect on their childhoods and their current lives, the reader is given an intimate look into the personalities of these two very different sisters, and the events that have shaped them into the women they are today. Not only do the readers learn about Claire and Jo from their own narrations, but also from that of Dee, a young girl who has recently moved to the town and is obsessed with picking up pieces of gossip about the Gilly sisters that she hears around town. Through these various viewpoints the reader is ultimately able to form a cohesive image of what makes the Gilly Sisters tick. 

Another factor of the story that really drew me in was the hint of magic which is associated with the salt that the Gilly family has farmed for generations. Does the salt really have magical properties? Or is its power simply given to it through the belief of the townspeople? The salt is really one of the driving forces behind the plot, as the Turner family becomes obsessed with obtaining the salt marshes for themselves and Claire does everything in her power to escape its legacy. I’m not going to lie though…all the talk about salt in this book really made me crave extra salty french fries and pretzels while I was reading!

In general, readers who are fans of writers like Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will absolutely devour this novel! The magic, mystery, and secrets will hook you in and keep you reading! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Tiffany Baker will come up with next, and I think I might just go and pick up a copy of her first novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, from my local library! The Gilly Salt Sisters will be hitting the shelves March 14th, so make sure to add it to your to-read list, and keep your eyes peeled for it next time you’re browsing around the bookshelves of your local bookstore! 

Rating: 4/5 Stars


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