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The Silver Bough

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  456 ratings  ·  85 reviews
The award-winning author of The Mysteries returns with another captivating novel in which modern-day enigmas and age-old myths come together with spellbinding results. Here is an enchanting tale set in a land rich with folklore–and ripe for a rekindling of the old ways.

Nestled on the coast of Scotland, Appleton was once famous for its apples. Now, though the orchards are l
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Spectra (first published April 25th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 08, 2007 Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy, Modern Myth
_The Silver Bough_ is one of my favorite books read in recent years. It's the story of a small town attached to Scotland by a thin thread of land. When a storm makes the only road to the town impassable, strange things start happening. The town begins to slip into the mists of Faerie. This is one of those books where describing the storyline itself is not enough. Lisa Tuttle's description in this book is incredible...the town takes on a life of its own like few authors can successfully do. This ...more
Moira Russell
Much better than The Mysteries, but still not something I'd really recommend to someone unless they were really in the mood for light and fluffy (which isn't me, very often). This read to me much more like a romance (down to the gushy descriptions of the hero), and not so much a supernatural/Gothic novel, so maybe that's part of why I mostly bounced off it. A flaw in both books is the plot takes WAY too much time to get moving, and I say this as someone who loves big build-ups.
Tanja Berg
I looked forward to reading this. I loved the cover and found the blurb on the back interesting. When I started reading I couldn't quite get into it and found it difficult to keep the characters apart.

There's this peninsula that used to be an island according to legend. Maybe even Avalon. Now it's called Appleton, although the legendary apple orchards are gone. Ashley comes to visit her relatives and search for her roots, her grandmother ran away from Appleton. Then there's a landslide and the
A slow burner of a novel, set on a peninsula at the Scottish coast. One by one, a number of characters are drawn there, each seemingly driven by loss of some sort. Except the librarian. Then, this island of apples seems to drift into a more mythical state, with fairy tales and myths of Avalon just beneath the surface.

The myth bits sound like just the sort of thing I'd love, but sadly the novel feels quite flat. Each character gets an introduction, and it takes a very long time before the story m
Kevan Manwaring
If you are looking for autumnal comfort reading with a magic sheen – look no further. Tuttle's charming tale of an enchanted Scottish town – the invented near-island of Appleton – has a strong sense of place, some distinctive characters, and a clever blend of Celtic mythology and apple folklore. Tuttle slowly builds up a painstaking level of detail in the town's idiosyncracies – architectural, topographical and human – thus establishing some verisimillitude, before the magic starts to leak in fr ...more
Diane Warrington
This is an interesting novel and an interesting idea. However I found it difficult to read in places because it seemed to have an identity crisis.I wouldn't call it magic realism because of the fairy/myth/legend aspect. I also found the sex references just weird. Every female character (all American) instantly fall in lust. All the Scottish male characters are a bit loopy and it's only the male incomers that have sex appeal. An awful lot happens to 3 women who are in many ways so alike that I fo ...more
This is a beautiful read.

This story starts out as if it's a contemporary tale, but slowly more and more magical elements appear, until at one point I was just as creeped out as one of the lead characters by the strange things that happened.

The story switches between several viewpoint characters, and I liked most of them. The one character I couldn't relate with was Ashley, she was too self centered and hostile at times. I think Nell was my favorite character. She's a difficult person, but I coul
I sometimes hesitate when I'm looking for fantasy books because I find they either throw you into an unknown world too fast, throw too much 'local lore' at you too quickly, or the story becomes action before you're settled into the world with the characters.

The Silver Bough is none of the above. The world, although a different country to me, is introduced in such a way that I feel instantly settled and apart of the tiny Scotland island. I feel connected to the modern world that exists within the
Jan 13, 2011 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Polly Ross
This is the book that got me out of my month-long fiction slump, and I am full of affection for it.

It isn't really anything new, but it's a lovely, cozy warm book, with occasional eerie moments and a deft handling of folklore.

Three very different American women--college student Ashley, middle-aged librarian Kathleen, and young widow Nell, are drawn to the small Scottish village of Appleton, each seeking escape from a personal loss.

Appleton is rich in folk traditions, and when a rockslide cuts
Alison C
I can't believe I missed The Silver Bough, by Lisa Tuttle, when it first was published in 2006; she's one of my favourite authors and she writes novels far too infrequently for me (this is, I think, her fourth full-length novel since Windhaven, co-written with George R.R. Martin, appeared in the mid-1970s). But I'm absolutely thrilled to have found it, however belatedly. The Silver Bough is set in Appleton, a small seaside town on a peninsula in the west of Scotland, described by folklore as hav ...more
Ali George
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Set on an almost-island on the Scottish coast, famed historically for its apples. But the apple trees have almost all gone now, and the town is in decline. There's a story that once a generation, the trees produce a single golden apple, and if that's shared between a young couple in love, it will bring happiness and prosperity to the town. Last time it should have been eaten, Ashley's grandmother was chosen to be the Apple Queen, but she ran away to America instead and the apple was never eaten. ...more
A beautiful story full of mystical magic. What if mythology wasn't fiction? What if ancient tales were more than mere stories of wild fancy? Appleton was a town rumored to be the fabled Avalon of Arthurian legends, a place steeped in Celtic lore, but all that is now history. A young girl grieving for her best friend, a widow lost without her soulmate, a young man cast out from his home, a woman seeking her place in the world, and a beautiful, mysterious stranger all become stranded here in the w ...more
An entertaining read with some annoying flaws. Namely that it jumps between different characters' perspectives at a relatively rapid pace. This doesn't effect the understanding of the plot, fortunately, but that's namely because the characters are fairly interchangeable. From the six-or-so perspectives the reader sees, not much changes. The characters, and even their descriptions, quickly blur together until I just stopped caring about their motivations, thoughts, or interests. Would have liked ...more
Cassandra Carico
It took about 175 pages for the story to begin to fully bloom. However, the time spent setting the scene and getting to know the characters was well worth it. The rest of the book moved so swiftly and carried me along like a swift current. I fell in love with this book and didn't want to put it down.... nor did I want it to end.

The author did not rehash old tales, but brought a completely new flavor to tales long told. If you love fantasy with a fair helping of realism, this is a book for you.
Blodeuedd Finland
I really like her style. It's so fairy'tale, but at the same time it fiction. It makes me believe.

This is the story of Appelton. Once it was a nice little town with orchards, now people are leaving. All because of the last Apple Queen and the bad luck that followed.

Our 3 heroines are: Kathleen, a librarian. Nell, who has a few apple trees. And Ashley who wants to know why her grandma left so suddenly and never came back there. They are all different, they are all skeptics, they are all outsiders
John Owen
A very intriguing book. More than a touch of Brigadoon and The Wicker Man, with a run-down Scottish seaside town proving to be something more when a strangely attractive man returns to his birthplace. His arrival seems to set in motion a sequence of events, with the town's only road cut off by an avalanche, communications going on the blink, plus a mysterious fog that seems to surround the place. Everything revolves around the apples for which the town was famous, but which died out fifty years ...more
I found the Scottish folklore in this interesting. The plot took a long time to start going, with the first 6 chapters introducing a seemingly endless parade of different characters. I'm not sure why the 3 main characters had to be Americans - it seemed unlikely to me that a small village in Scotland would have so many, but maybe I've missed something in the story. In fact, none of the main characters came from Appleton, so maybe that's the point and I'm being a bit stupid. So, in summary: Scott ...more
The Silver Bough is a gentle fantasy that weaves Scottish mythology, magic and romance into a seamless tale of wonder. It follows three women who are trapped in Appleton after a landslide, who all meet a mysterious stranger and are drawn into an enchanted world that may hold the key to the survival of the old town.

The book begins with Ashley, who has come to this backwater in search of her family's past - her grandmother once lived in Appleton, and was even crowned the Apple Queen in her youth,
Carolyn (Book Chick City)
Reviewed by Melanie for - 3.5 Star on the blog.

When I first started to read THE SILVER BOUGH I thought it was a quaint tale of three American women, all suffering from the bereavement of either a loved one or their way of life. They have all moved to the small town of Appleton in Scotland looking for a change or a means of escape from the sadness in their lives. Appleton was once a successful town, famous for its apples, especially the Appleton Fairest. Like the characters
A creepy, haunting, subtly magical novel about the power of stories and the magic of old places.

Kathleen gives up a higher salary, a cosmopolitan life and a failed marriage in London, and moves to tiny, isolated Appleton on the coast of Scotland, to become librarian at the beautiful, out-of-place library in the centre of a once-thriving tourist town. But Appleton is failing, and when a landslide blocks off the only route back to the mainland and sparks off a chain of very strange events, many fe
Lari Don
I often tell a traditional tale to infants about the star at the heart of every apple, and the story always holds them entranced. This book investigates the magic star at the heart of the apple in many myths and legends, so I felt an immediate connection with the story.
The Silver Bough is about Appleton, a small town on Scotland’s west coast, which used to produce the most wonderful apples in Scotland. But why did the apples stop growing?
We see the town and its unusual history through the eyes
Apr 05, 2015 SilverRaindrops rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to SilverRaindrops by: Kara
I read "The Silver Bough" because I had seen it on a Magical Realism shelf.
This probably helped me a lot, as I have read quite a few reviews mentioning the surprise upon stumbling into a world of fairytales.

In the beginning, Lisa Tuttle describes the journeys of three American women, all lonely for some reason or another, to the small Scottish coastal town of Appleton.
The Scottish landscape provides a resounding backdrop to their emotional issues,and apparently there are also enough males in
Sep 22, 2012 Kara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kara by: Kate
This is absolutely magical realism. It's not romance (although there is romance involved), it's not chick lit (at ALL), and it's not science fiction (there are no rational explanations provided).

Appleton, despite its name, is a Scottish town. Myths and rumors surround it, and there's always been a little aura of magic around the area. The town thrives on its apple industry--at least, it used to before it fell into economic shambles. The rational explanation for this decline is that the man who o
Genuinely masterful and romantic modern fantasy, as creepy strange things happen on the odd little Scottish outcrop that is Appleton, where everything is in decline and all the apple trees are gone. But a golden apple has appeared out of season in a walled off orchard and a new chance has come around to make everything right or to lose everything for good. But who will eat the golden apple, and will it be in time? Appleton is cut off from the outside world and the mists are rolling in. Ghosts ar ...more
A testament that sometimes judging a book by its cover works just fine. Loved the mixing of myths and legends with life in an isolated community. Well written, great characters and an ending that left a smile on my face.
Matti Tornio
Way too much time is spent setting up the story for a minimal payoff. The elements are there for a good book, but unfortunately the story itself is very flat and boring.
Laura Cowan
I've never seen this mix of chick lit approach to female characters blended with a really beautifully woven modern Scottish fairy story. It's not a favorite just because the relationship end of it wasn't my style, but I read the beginning and then the last half, when the main character was starting to discover the secrets of the Scottish town. The reveal of these things was very skillfully done, and as someone who has read up on English/Irish/Scottish folklore myself, I can say the author not on ...more
Ghost stories with "real people" ghosts are my passion. Picked this one up at a library book sale. The reviews I checked were excellent, so I settled in. This was a most laborious book to read. By the time I reached page 32 of the 335 pages I had to go back to the beginning and start all over. The author introduces so many characters that for the first time ever I found myself making a list of who was who so I could keep track. Not until well into the more than 150 pages did I feel drawn in. I f ...more
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(Wife of Colin Murray) aka Maria Palmer (house pseudonym).

Lisa Tuttle taught a science fiction course at the City Lit College, part of London University, and has tutored on the Arvon courses. She was residential tutor at the Clarion West SF writing workshop in Seattle, USA. She has published six novels and two short story collections. Many of her books have been translated into French and German e
More about Lisa Tuttle...
The Mysteries The Pillow Friend Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction Windhaven Lost Futures

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