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The Gilly Salt Sisters

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  2,010 ratings  ·  395 reviews
The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

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
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published March 14th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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Aug 29, 2012 Joanna rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A beautiful cover for a dark and moody book where I did not forsee anything pleasant transpiring if I judged from the first seventy-five pages. The book was overwhelmed by a darkness that felt not at all like what I have experienced in Cape Cod nor living on a salt marsh in New England. Granted to a non-tourist, Cape Cod was, in the 1970s was probably a struggle.

Yet, I was holding out; something had to change. But a sad bitter character was then eclipsed by her bitter and vindictive sister, and
Green Gables

I wish I could give the first 90% of this book 4 stars and the last 10% ONE star. The majority of the book was well-written -suspenseful plot with interesting characters. The ending was rushed and too quaint -visitors from all over the world?! a man regains his lost sense of taste?! Turner House becomes a visitor center??!

And Claire Gilly must be one of the most clueless and unintentionally narcissistic women ever. A self-centered teenager that maims her sister (refusing to even donat
The Gilly Salt Sisters was one of those books that took me FOREVER to read. I don't really know what it was about it. My overall feeling towards it was generally positive. It just wasn't one of those books that really grabbed me and held me and made me never want to put it down.

The book revolves around the mystical power of the salt that the Gilly family produces. This concept is never really fully explained though. Is it really magical or is the entire town just reacting as though it is? Are th
This story was one that I had to read gently. I felt that it deserved that kind of reading mindset. It wasnt particularly enticing or gripping. It didnt really leave me wanting more, yet it wasnt alltogether satisfying. It was a bit slow going and the parts that were intriguing, there just wasnt enough of. But something about it kept me turning the pages and drinking in the lives of the Gillys and the Turners.

I am a huge fan of fantasy and stories of witches and witchcraft. I picked this up bec
Diane S.
I really enjoyed this book. The Tuners and the Gillys, old family residents of Prospect, a village in Cape Cod. The Gillys belong to the salt, salt is the magical element in this book that ties everything together, and the Turners want to own the whole town. Loved the character development in this novel, how they change with the circumstances and the trials they face. Shifting alliances, secrets revealed and tragedies, kept me reading to the end. Love magical realism when it is done well and thi ...more
*SPOILER ALERT* I read Baker's 1st book and really liked it, so I was excited to see you had written a new book. This story had the same feel with the mix of mysticism, romance & the complexities of human relations. It was good. I didn't like it as much as Baker's first book, but it was good overall.

The ending was disappointing to me. Having Whit & Dee die in the fire that Claire started just ended things abruptly. It would've been interesting to find out how Whit would react to Dee's pr
The Gilly Salt Sisters takes place in a small New England town similar, if not just, Falmouth...near Woods Hole. Of course the original New England colonies were not only populated by puritans and those pious believers in the straight and narrow path, but they were seasoned by island peoples...slaves from the Caribbean, from Africa and from other exotic places where superstition and "witchcraft," magical and mystical things followed them. These characteristics were met with the same that underpi ...more
Jo and Claire Gilly live on a salt farm. The townsfolk believe that the sisters are bewitched and so is their salt. Jo loves the salt. On the other hand, Claire hates the salt and would do anything to get away from it. Thus the reason that she married Whit Turner. Whit first had his eyes on Jo but Claire went in for the kill and married him.

Jo and Claire will learn just how strong a sisters bond really is when Claire is forced to move back in with her sister and Whit’s pregnant mistress.

I read
From the very beginning of this book I questioned the whole premise of the "power" of the salt and the town's reluctant respect for it. (I kept thinking of parodies where the magical element would be flour/wheat or oregano or something.) The melodramatic, black and white portrayals of the characters and the Gillys' backstory felt manufactured and overwrought. If magical realism is going to work for me, an author has to entwine the magic with the setting and characters in such a way that it feels ...more
Didn't really like it. It was very dark, which I can deal with and I like a dark book once in a while. But it must include at least one character I can relate with or like. This did not. I did kind of feel sorry for Jo though, she suffered a lot due to Claire and her selfishness. I think I disliked Claire the most. So, I really don't recommend it. Also, the scene with the drowning kittens really bothered me. I don't care if that was a spoiler or not. On to better things!
This one started out a little slow but got better as it went.
Not a happy story - but it held my interest till the end. I loved The Little Giant of Aberdeen County so I had pretty high expectations for this one, maybe my 3 stars is a bit harsh but I am sticking with it.
Not really sure what my feelings are about this book and its characters. Just when I started liking a character they would do something horrible. The same can be said for the characters that seemed to have no redeeming qualities only to show me that I was wrong. It had me questioning my ability to judge.
This book is phenomenal.The best I have read all year. As a wash-a-shore living on Cape Cod, I love the true Cape feel it has. The story is amazingly real and the characters are down-to-earth and real. Its heartbreaking and honest must read!
Stephanie Dudley

This book took over a hundred pages for me to get into the story, but then it took off and I couldn't put it down. I almost quit, but I am glad that I didn't.
The Gilly family business is salt. For several generations they have owned the property in a remote village of Cape Cod where they have built pits to hold ocean water until salt crystals form on the tops of the pooled water. They then carefully rake off the crystals and store it to sell to other locals. This is back-breakingly hard work, and apparently not very lucrative, as they are behind in mortgage payments and unable to buy new clothes or hire any help.

Maybe, or maybe not, but the Gilly wom
Since the weather here was cold and rainy, a book set in a gloomy salt marsh sounded perfect. This book was so well written I could easily imagine the Gilly sisters and their old salt farm on the sandy marshes of Cape Cod. The characters are also very well written -- especially Jo. Though she's written as an old grump, her love for her family land and her sister shine through. She didn't feel like a martyr. Every character has pretty major flaws, but I empathized with them even though I loathed ...more
Review first published on my blog:

The Gilly Salt Sisters is the story of a small Cape Cod Village called Prospect and the two most influential families - the Gilly and the Turners. The two families could not be more different. The Turners are the wealthy leaders of the town, shaping and changing the town on the basis of their wealth. The Gillys are a mother and two daughters, who are poor and live on the outskirts of town, and yet their salt farm holds a
This book was pretty awful. None of the protagonists were even a bit likeable, the plot wasn't moving or riveting and honestly, I was just reading to get to the (anti climatic) end. I have a hard time leaving any book in the middle, and I was sorely tempted because honestly, I don't care what happens to Jo, Claire, or any of the bit characters here. Also, more than you have ever wanted to know about the process of making salt. Endless text about harvesting it, messing with it - wow, that was so ...more
I liked Little Giants of Aberdeen County and I love books with magical realism but this promising book did not deliver. Too many of the characters were unlikable and never grew, sometimes regressing in a way that made no sense. The feud between the Gillys and the Turners was never fully explained so it didn't really cause any tension for me. The backstory of the town's history with salt and lack of Gilly men seemed like it would have a lot of storytelling potential but this book just did not wor ...more
There were a lot of great elements to this book: a reclusive woman who everyone fears, her wild and snobby sister, a small town with lots of quirks, a mysterious "spell" cast over the Gilly family, just to name a few. But Baker got so lost in describing the love scenes and affairs that she forgot what story she was really telling. In fact, the author even contradicts her own timeline in parts, which makes things confusing.

In the end, we don't really know what the curse of the salt is all about.
Tara Young
This was a hard one for me to rate. You see, tiffany Baker is a terrific writer. The Gilly Salt Sisters is filled with atmospheric renderings and deep emotional prose to bring us to where each character is sitting in their own particular hell. In parts, the narrative could have been shorter, because in parts, its repetitive information. But the real reason I hesitated giving it even four stars is the implausibility of certain scenes. An event would be revealed before the event took place. Okay, ...more
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
Tiffany Baker is a terrific writer! I read sentences in this book which gave me a tingle when I came across them and I knew Baker is good. For example: "Jo stood up and clattered the cups together, then dangled her hands by her sides, letting all her regrets bear down on her as sure and unstoppable as a millstone about to crush bone." And: "Before she could think too hard about that, however, she moved, breaking the image into pieces and scattering the doubtful part of her back into the rain, le ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Donna added it
This is one of the best fiction books I've read in a long time. It's about 2 sisters who are very different in looks and personality, family feuds & family secrets, and an interesting family business of harvesting salt. The author blends a little bit of fear, love, betrayal and rediscovery into this one book. It captured my attention till the very end, and I didn't want it to end.
It was actually better than expected... To be truthful, the real rating should be a 2,5. I can't say that I liked it, but it was a good book.

It started extremely grim, the environment was depressing and the characters made it difficult to relate to. After getting to know them a bit, they became more appealing, because they sort of changed with the story. The salt as a point of focus of the story made it interesting, because the reader can always wonder about the salt being truly magical. Also, i
Apr 06, 2012 Ivy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: gonged
I gave this book my requisite 50 pages. There was nothing horrible about it, but there was nothing great. I didn't connect with the characters in any way. It just didn't work for me. You would think as much as I like salt I would like a book about it, but no.
This ended up being a good book but I struggled with the salt talk, there's only so much I want to know about salt. But I was curious to know how things would end with the sisters so I'm glad I finished it.
I liked that it was a dark story, much darker than that pretty cover would ever suggest. The writing was well done, and while the time-jumps were at first mildly confusing, they didn't bother me. The reason I'm giving this book such a low rating is due to one character alone: Claire. I can appreciate a terrible character, and it's nice when authors decide to provide one. But I didn't just find Claire "terrible"--I found her to be deplorable. Whit was technically the villain, but I think Claire w ...more
I loved this book. Just a perfect novel (for women... don't recommend to guys).
I didn't like the ending at all.
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Bookworm Bitches : January 2014: The Gilly Salt Sisters 20 118 Feb 08, 2014 08:05PM  
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Tiffany Baker is the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. She lives outside San Francisco with her husband, three children, and tiny hyperactive dog. Her new novel, The Gilly Salt Sisters, will be released from Grand Central Publishing in March 2012.
More about Tiffany Baker...
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“There was no etiquette guide in the universe that told you how to handle waking up in a house you'd fled from as a teenager with your estranged sister in one room accross the hall and your husband's pregnant teenage mistress in the other.” 2 likes
“How do you tell the difference between carelessness and passion?" Claire asked as they paced back along the edge of the marsh. "Is there one? I meane, really, is there any way to love a person without the hell beat out of you for it?” 2 likes
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