Book Review | The Hum and the Shiver
Author: Alex Bledsoe
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe is a unique fantasy tale about a mysterious race of people in Appalachia. The Tufa have a distinct look, with their dark hair, dark skin and perfect teeth. No one quite knows where they came from, but it’s rumored that they were here even before the settlers reached the soils of America. The heroine of the tale is Bronwyn Hyatt, a Tufa from the Tennessee Mountains who returns home from Iraq as a war hero. Though the outside world may view her as a war hero, her own people simply view her as the” Bronwynator”, girl with a sordid past.
Bronwyn returns home and she is faced with overcoming physical, emotional and spiritual issues. She and her family have been receiving cryptic signs, and it points to an approaching death. She also has to deal with a ghost or a “haint” as the Tufa calls them. The message that the “haint” has for Bronwyn could possibly impact her life forever. Perhaps more troubling than anything outside of the death signs, Bronwyn can no longer play her Mandolin. She’s always been a gifted player, but due to the emotional traumas she faced in the war, she has forgotten her music. It is a truly challenging experience for a true Tufa, for they hold music near their hearts. It is a major part of the culture. In fact, it has been rumored that through their music lives a supernatural power. Complicating things even more, Bronwyn is a First Daughter, and she has the responsibility of learning the family song or else her family and her people could be in jeopardy of losing their culture.
The Hum and the Shiver may have begun at a slow pace, but the intrigue built with each turn of the page. I was expecting the story to solely be told from the perspective of Bronwyn, but it was not. In fact, multiple characters were given a voice. I was unsure of the multiple perspectives in the beginning, but as the story continued to build I grew to appreciate and understand the purpose which they served. I enjoyed the charismatic nature of the young preacher, Craig. The addition of the part Tufa reporter Don and his exploration towards discovering his own roots captivated me as a reader. Bronwyn’s family, Deacon, Chloe, Aiden and Kell, represented that strong family bond, even though she tried to escape it when she joined the army. Each and every character offered something new. Together these complex characters laid the foundation for a deeply satisfying tale. Bledsoe’s work is almost artistic in nature, the way in which each character added a different stroke to complete a masterful piece. The Hum and the Shiver is a worthy addition to any book enthusiasts’ library.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*
Kellie is a Mass Communications student and lives in a small Illinois town. She is an avid reader, who enjoys writing, shopping, exercise and a little political spin every now and then.