After reading the first novel in the Tufa series, Hum and Shiver, I wanted to know what would happen with the main protagonist – the Bronwinator – and the dark – haired people in the Appalachian Cloud County. This is a story about life in a small village and about the two main families of the dark and light fairy people called the Tufa.
The protagonist of the story is Rob Quillen – a winner at the known game show – “So you think you can sing”. His world has come crashing down around him as his wife dies in an air-crash when she flies to see him at the show final. When trying to heal his wounded heart, he goes on a pilgrimage to Tufa county after a mysterious guide has pointed him in the direction of an old secret song that can heal his broken heart.
With his beloved gone, and his career both awash and uninspiring, Rob takes the chance and makes his way, settling in to the Catamount Corner motel on the edge of Needsville, home of the Tufa.
Slowly, agonizingly slowly, Rob comes to learn about the Tufa.
Meanwhile, the Tufa are learning about him. Word gets around in Cloud County, and the Tufa, well, they have ways. Rob quickly gets the attention of EMT Bliss Overbay, a First Daughter and Regent of the Tufa. But there are others, like Rockhouse and Stoney Hicks, who have opposing needs in Needsville.
The book is filled with Bluegrass songs, country songs, and the importance of singing in a community.
As Rob mentioned – in primitive tribes, everyone in the community sang. In the up-and-coming villages, some of the people sang. In the modern cities, barely anybody sang. And singing heals a broken heart.
Vibrant, lyrical, and filled with the beauty of music and the wildness of the mountains–as well as the harsh realities of living amid a strange people who are both more and less than human. It is the ultimate modern fairy tale. Its spirit will resonate in my bones long after the specific words have faded from memory. It may be a novel, but it is not a work of fiction. Just the opposite, for it contains the essence of all that is real and true about life. Including, of course, a difficult, believable, and satisfying tale of love.