Books set in the South are not typically my thing. I tend to like my fiction a little more urban and a lot less Appalachian. The heroes of my stories do not typically drive or ride in pickup trucks. But Cynthia, the reader advisory queen at the library where I work, has raved about this book. And the last time she did this and I tried out her suggestion, it was the fantastically good A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. I took her advice again, and I’m so glad that I did.
Okay, so The Hum and the Shiver follows the return of massively injured war hero Bronwyn Hyatt to her home town in Cloud County, a country no-Starbucks town in the middle of Appalachia. She’s back from the Iraq War where terrible things that must not be relived happened. While the media swarms her, all the townspeople hold back because they’re small town people. Also, they’re kinda magic, but totally in a country way. No massive conjuring here. This is salt of the earth magic.
I mean, you find that out really fast. Everyone in the town with Tufa blood can read signs in nature for portents, and they all have an affinity for music and song.
Anywho, as Bronwyn recovers from her multiple leg fractures, she realizes she’s forgotten how to play any of the music that’s so important to her and her family. So she has to learn again so she can regain some of her power and so she can learn her mother’s song because signs are pointing to her death. She also has to fight off her bad girl history, embodied in her disgustingly country bad boy ex-boyfriend Dwayne. And she has to combat nosy reporters, ancient tradition, and more guys wanting to date/marry/sex her up than is really healthy. In short, there’s a lot going on.
I know, that description makes it sound kind of hokey, but it’s really not. It’s actually fantastic. The story hums along quickly, and you desperately want to know what happens next. I don’t want to ruin any of the twists and turns of it, because I think that you should have the chance to discover those parts for yourself. And even when the story of this book gets resolved, I was so hooked into the world that Bledsoe had created that I immediately ordered the next book.
And the best part is, if you want to try it out, it’s only $3 on Amazon for the Kindle book at like $6.50 for the paperback. You can’t beat that.
Go ahead and try it out. It may be outside your typical genres, but a little stretch never hurt anyone. And you’ll probably like it. Because it’s awesome.
JMF Rating: 9/10
‘Til next time,