Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle

The Silver Bough is a good example of modern fantasy, although it is cataloged with the regular fiction. The story takes place in Appleton, a town in Scotland that is on the end of a peninsula. The three main characters are American women, who have each ended up in Appleton for different reasons, but become central to the magic that is about to happen there. There is always some sense of something lost and forgotten in the town, and many people blame it on the abrupt departure of the last Apple Queen, in the 1950's. The town has been going slowly downhill since then.
A landslide on the only road into town is the beginning of the magic, when Appleton suddenly becomes cut off from the outside world. Not only is the road blocked, but the phones and cable are also all cut. The three women begin to experience things that cannot be explained, except by magic. Not all of the magic is harmless or good, however, and many of the residents begin to believe that they are being pulled into the realm of Faerie, out of which the peninsula, or the island it was once believed to be, originally came.
The main characters in this story are likable, but not entirely believable. One of them is a librarian who lives in a little cottage that is practically part of her library. She is able to thus live her fantasy of living in the library. I can definitely sympathize with this, and I even experienced some of her thrill while reading it. The library that is central to the town and the story is a historic building, where no more than two employees are ever needed. It is filled with old volumes and strange curiosities. How exciting to work (and live!) in such a place!
I enjoyed the book, but there was something missing about it. Maybe everyone's problems were too easily resolved, or the story itself did not take enough twists and turns. I am not sure. I felt the lack of something, but I cannot articulate what it was. It was still a good book, and an enjoyable read. The town of Appleton is an exciting place to visit.

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