Friday, October 7, 2011

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music—hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations. 
Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity. 
With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds. . . .
This was a curious book for me. The book starts out shrouded in dark mystery. Bronwyn Hyatt who returns from Iraq a hero finds herself back at home where she ran. The town which is where you first see the dark mystery is a comfort to Bronwyn and a curse. She is happy to be back home to heal, but fears what will be asked of her. No, she fears what will be demanded of her. She's never been one to sit and let others decide her fate, so she now has to balance what is good for the community and what is good for herself.

At first you might think this is one of those stories where you meet the backwoods mountain people who shun all forms of technology. Thankfully this isn't one of them. The people are quite educated and worldly even if they prefer to keep to the community from which they were raised. However, the darkness we often associate with this type of closed community is there. We just don't know what will happen when the light of knowledge pierces the dark. Will we find good people or evil? Ah, no... I will not reveal that. *evil laugh* But I will say that it is the fact of their very nature that is put to the question.

These people have a secret sign language, a way private that they greet and bless each other. They are also deeply connected to music. Music that may bring either the hum or the shiver to your soul. Of course we also deal with haints (ghosts) who often either help by imparting knowledge or wisdom or even something more sinister. The Tufa people have a way of dealing with haints as well. It is all done cautiously and reverently.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters in this story. Even the preacher, Craig Chess plays a big part. I enjoyed the way he tried to pierce the silence of the community with patience and an open mind and heart. He did want to get them into church, but really he wanted to know more about the people. He doesn't mind being in a place where the majority would be called heathens in any other church. So, those that might worry, there is no preaching even from him. However, he does make an interesting contrast for the story.

I give this story 4 stars. It is a different type of paranormal story. It also makes you want to know what their voices and songs really sound like.
I received this ARC from the publisher, Tor, and no compensation for my review was given.
This painting done by Richard Dadd called the Fairy Feller also plays a huge role at the end of the book. I had to add it. :)


  1. I wasn't sure about this book before but the more reviews I read the more I want to read it. Plus I love the title.

  2. I quite like hidden community stories so I will look at this. Although I have the impression of your evil laugh echoing around the mountains for some reason! :)

  3. Mountains and hidden communities...a very nice setting but slightly sinister. Yeah, I've told you, your evil laugh is quite telling...

  4. What a peculiar story...very interesting. Great review :D

  5. Hmm, not too sure about the overall plot but I like the sound of the characters.

  6. This sounds really interesting, and you and your evil laughs have completely piqued my curiosity. I want to know all about these people now and what significance that painting has:)

  7. Sounds good. I'm always intrigued by towns that have a specific culture/people dedicated to the region. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It sounds wondrously dark.

  8. Nice review, you've made me curious about the book. Is the author the actrice from the Gillmore Girls? Or am I confusing two different people here?

  9. You're in trouble with your evil laughs!!! This actually seems really freaking cool! I must add it to my TBR!!!

  10. Soooo, the evil laugh returns. How... predictable! *evil laugh*

    I love it when the secondary characters are just as rich as the main, and if they are heathens that's even better. Hehe.

  11. Oh, my gosh, the clincher is when you included that painting in the end – Now I MUST find out how that plays a part!

  12. I didn't know this one, but it sounds intruiguing and very different from some novels I've read, so it may be nice to read this kind of books. Thanks for the review

  13. @Simcha... Oh so do I. I think the title is what drew me in!

    @Mel... *looks around* Whew! That is what all that was about! ;)

    @Anachronist... Who me? *looks innocent*

    @animewookie... It was different. I like that. :)

    @...Petty... Oh it was a good character book.

    @Jenny...*evil laugh* I'm not telling! ;)

    @Jen... Dark... oh yes... :D

    @Aurian... Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't watch the Gillmore Girls. *hides*

    @Ashley...Me? *innocent bat of eyes* I think you'd like it. No zombies, but still dark enough! :)

    @Missie... Please! Predictable? *evil laugh* Oh darn, you knew I was going to do that, didn't you? *sigh* ;D

    @Stephanie...Hee hee... Yep, it's flashed in the video too. :)

    @Melliane... It is different, but not so much you would get lost. I think you might enjoy it.

  14. It does sound different and that is just refreshing cos there is so much that is just the same old same old out there

  15. Sounds 'Haunting with Haints' Evil Laugh!
    Sounds great, mysterious and kinda beautiful!

    I love the painting 'The Fairy Feller' it's intriquing!

    This one's going on my TBR list!
    Fab Review!

  16. First I'd like to say you are so beautifully dressed for Halloween one of my favorite times of the year!!
    And you wear it so well!

    The title of this one caught my attention. And I know about those backwoods communities that stick together and keep the outside world out. But they aren't dumb, just secretive. Know all about those.

    This book sounds really interesting and you reviewed very well, though you're a bit of a tease! Glad to know there isn't any preaching, I'll go to church for that thank you! I bet the preacher is an interesting character next to a bunch of non church goers. I think this ones going on the TBR. Thank you! Cause I needed another book:)


  17. This is now the fourth review of this I've read, and with each one, I want to read this even more. I need to get a hold of this one.

  18. This one sounds pretty intriguing. Hidden communities are always interesting to read about, and I am loving that this community is educated with a secret language...

  19. Love that it is a different type of paranormal story. I need to dive into something unique!

  20. Oh ok I get it now - alright I stopped reading the review about two paragraphs in - don't won't to get too biased since I now plan on reading this baby. thanks
    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  21. I've just finished reading and reviewing this - like some of your previous commenters, I loved the title and the art work is great too. I enjoyed the book and think Alex has done a great job creating the Tufa and their world.

    My review: The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe


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