(A touch of magic in our theme today. Be sure to check out the posts on L. Penelope and Jeffe Kennedy too!)
An absolutely breath-taking series of the past few years is Alex Bledsoe’s Novels of The Tufa. There are a thousand justifications to love these books, but a couple reasons I love it so much are because the world-building is completely creative and unique, and because the books are great reads for both men and women.
The Tufa are a mysterious clan of people who live in Needsville, a (fictional) tiny town in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. They are dark haired and dark-skinned, though not White, Black or Native American. In fact, no one outside of the clan knows exactly how they came to be there, and no one in the clan cares to gives out any information about them whatsoever.
I don’t even like to give much information about the books, because uncovering the Tufa’s secrets by reading the books is such a sublime pleasure.
But I’ll tell you they’re magical, and their magic is tied to music, especially their own voices and songs.
Bledsoe is a beautiful writer, and each story builds on the others to create a fully rendered magical society with its villains and heroes, though for all of their magical capacity, they’re also prone to typical human foibles which get them into all sorts of trouble and set up complicated alliances and power plays within the two main familial factions in the town.
I’ve listened to the first four titles in the series – I only have two more, and I’m getting to them slowly so I can savor them with all the attention and anticipation they deserve.
If you like beautiful writing, powerful world-building, a little magic and stories that delve into the best and worst of human nature in fascinating and sometimes dark, yet ultimately uplifting ways, then I invite you to discover The Tufa.
You’ll be very glad you did.
The Hum and the Shiver: A Novel of the Tufa
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is an enchanting tale of music and magic older than the hills, and the first book in the wondrous Tufa series. . . .
“Imagine a book somewhere between American Gods and Faulkner. In brief: a good book. Absolutely worth your time.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author, on The Hum and the Shiver
Private Bronwyn Hyatt had left her small town of Needsville for the army to escape the pressures of her mystical Tufa family legacy. She returns a lone survivor after a disastrous attack overseas, wounded in body and spirit.
But cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless haint lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Now Bronwyn finds the greatest battle lies right in her backyard, especially as young minister with too much curiosity arrives in town. If she makes the wrong choice, the consequences could be deadly for all the Tufa. . . .
(Full disclosure, Alex was in my local RWA chapter when he started writing these, so I know him. But for one thing, I never talk about books dishonestly, no matter who wrote them, and really, these are terrific, and I expect you’ll love them too. They’re must reads if you like magic or fantasy elements. Also, I rarely talk about books written by men – for so many reasons….! But yeah, Alex is a friend, and so I mostly read them because of that. But I love them because they’re amazing.) Happy reading! xo
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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