The Silver Bough
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The Silver Bough

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  64 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...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2006)
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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...more
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...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
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...more
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
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...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...more
Ali George
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John D.
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,...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Oct 06, 2012 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...more
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...more
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
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
Click Clack Gorilla
Pleasant book to read, but not really my thing. If you like more romance in your magic, it might be for you.
An adult fairy. Charming, with romance, confusion and a little spookiness.
Great premise, but lacked the execution needed to live up to it. Pedestrian writing and no real sense of plot development or the mysterious atmosphere it needed to build. I don't understand why the three main female characters had to be American, or the one male view-point Italian. It really brought nothing to the story and just seemed a lazy angle for an American author not overly confident with setting a story in Scotland. I did enjoy the first chapter describing the bus route from Glasgow to...more
Scotland? Magic? King Arthur meets modern world? What could go wrong? Everything. Wonderful premise with wonderful promise, but this story of 3 women who come to stay on a little (apparent) island leaves much to be desired. The females are unsympathetic and the plot is full of paradox, holes and dead-ends. Two things I appreciated learning from the book-the wide world of apples, which I have applied to my own writing in The Distant Kingdom and parts of Arthurian legend I never knew.
What an enjoyable read! Will be reading more from this author.
Good read
As one of the other reviews says, this is a lovely, cosy read. I can't help but feel a little disappointed at the ending though. It seems like some of the characters just vanished into thin air, and at least one of the characters that we had a POV from seemed utterly pointless. It was an enjoyable enough read though, and plenty of nicely interwoven folklore, but I can't see myself rereading this at any point.
I read her book Winterhaven, written with George RR Martin, so wanted to pick up one of her solo works. Set on a small peninsula, practically an island, on the coast of Scotland, this is the story of a town that was famous for it's apples and cider but is now slowly dying. Tales make it appear as though this is the result of the disappearance of a prior Apple Queen. A nice blend of reality and folk/fairy tales.
Delightful little book with a whimsical and soft fantasy about a a community cut off from the mainland of Scotland. A "what if" the floating island of Avalon really maintained its mystical qualities and the apple is the star. Modern characters, love stories, mysteries and folklore all wrapped up into a comforting novel. I recommend this read if you want a light enjoyable story.
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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
More about Lisa Tuttle...
The Mysteries The Pillow Friend Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction Lost Futures Windhaven

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