Year 7, Book 24

24. The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker
I really wanted to like this book more than I did, but it just never quite came together for me. The story takes place in a small Massachusetts town on the cape. The Gilly family are salt farmers and it has long been believed that their salt holds some sort of magical powers. Each December during a town festival as children the two sisters, Jo and Claire throw salt into the fire and the color of the resulting smoke portends what the town’s fate will be during the upcoming year. However, as adults they have become estranged. Claire has married Whit Turner, heir of the town’s wealthiest family who has had a longstanding feud with the Gilly family. She washes her hand of her past and tries to eliminate Gilly salt from the town while Jo tries to hold on to the rapidly declining salt farm. Many years on a Dee, a teenage girl and her father move to town and open a diner. Dee rapidly becomes enthralled with the Gilly sisters and Whit Turner and winds up entangling herself in their lives.

I couldn’t figure out what this book wanted to be. The salt seemed to maybe have an element of magic to it, but it was never really explained and also seemed like it could all just be folklore instead of fact. The relationships between the characters also never made sense to me. They all seemed really hard and disconnected from each other, which made it difficult for me to care about them or what was happening between them. There also seemed to be two big secrets haunting the characters in the book. One was essentially pointed out really early in the book, but then not fully explained until towards the end which made no sense to me. The other secret I didn’t realize was a secret I was supposed to think about until it was revealed and then I didn’t much care about it.

Essentially, I liked the idea of this book and it’s setting. I really felt a sense of place in the book, but unfortunately the characters were not nearly as well drawn. I feel like the book had good bones, but the execution just wasn’t quite there. I give it a 5 out of 10.

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