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The Gilly Salt Sisters

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  3,004 Ratings  ·  523 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 2012)
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Aug 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Green Gables
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it

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
Mar 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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 ☔
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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!
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This is my second Tiffany Baker novel. That one was 3 stars as well. I liked this one, but I didn't love it. The cover was beautiful. The title was intriguing. The author had some lovely descriptions that helped define the people and the place. She has a way with words that is beautiful.

There were just a couple of things that made this 3 stars and not 4. The characters were hard to rally behind because I didn't like any of them until I was 3/4 of the way done. The second thing was the complete
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
*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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
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
May 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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.
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
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Mm... Fifty-fifty.

Mi è piaciuta la storia e così i personaggi femminili, la loro mancanza di grazia - ciascuna a modo suo - le loro imperfezioni. È un libro molto particolare. Tuttavia c'è qualcosa nello stile e nelle ripetizioni che mi ha reso fastidiosa la lettura. Quante volte ci viene detto che Claire rema contro alla sorella sostenendo che il sale sia tossico? Quante volte che Chet il pescatore è l'unico a continuare a comprarlo? Non so, non mi è sembrato neanche un romanzo così corposo da
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
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
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.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't like the ending at all.
Stephanie Dudley
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it

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.
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
good book
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was so good! A little different, which is a good thing in my opinion. This author is new to me, but I'll be on the lookout for more of her books.
Cara Arver
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Not happy with the ending. It's a story that keeps giving just enough to keep reading without a lot happening. I couldn't put it down and the characters were fascinating.
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books-2018
2.5 stars. This book is told in the view of 3 different women: Jo Gilly; her sister, Claire; and Dee, a young unrelated woman, who is new in town.

Jo is the older sister and is all about the salt. She works hard and is mostly a loaner. She seems like a very rough, uncaring person in the beginning of the story, and my feelings for her didn’t change a whole lot throughout. I did end up understanding why she was the way she was, but it didn’t make me connect with her.

Claire, 6 years younger than J
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The town of Prospect depends on salt from the Gilly Salt Creek Farm for luck; the residents read their futures in the colors rising from Gilly salt thrown on the annual bonfire. It's a story of family, intrigue and death. Swirling above it all is St. Agnes, the church in town, and the Virgin who has no face. This was a hard read sometimes, perhaps inconsistent, but worth it. I will say the latter half of the book kept me on the edge of my seat.
Oct 31, 2012 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.
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Bookworm Bitches : January 2014: The Gilly Salt Sisters 20 127 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.” 3 likes
“Jo shook her head. She wished she had an answer for Claire, but as far as she knew, love would leave its mark. Sometimes it even took the skin right off you.” 3 likes
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