My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second in Bledsoe’s Tufa series. Living in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the Tufa are an enigmatic people. They keep to themselves and are wary of outsiders. Legends and tales of otherworldly abilities surround them. They have been in Cloud County longer than the first settlers on the continent. They are a people of music and magic. In Wisp of a Thing, musician Rob Quillen comes to Cloud County in search of a song. A finalist on a national talent search TV show, Rob lost his girlfriend in a tragic accident. A strange visitor told Rob he would find the song to ease his aching heart among the Tufa. What he finds is an ages-long power struggle, a missing wife, and a wild child living in the woods who seems somehow drawn to him. All of these pieces come together as the last leaves fall from the Widow’s Tree and an ancient curse is threatening.
This second story in the Tufa series digs more deeply into the political side of the Tufa heritage. We see more details of the two sides of the Tufa heirarchy. There is the matriarchy of the First Daughters set against the power of a patriarchy whose influence on the Tufa extends to their very beginnings. The opposition of these two factions is brought to a head here and the end result will resonate with all the Tufa, no matter which way the struggle leans. In the center of it all is Rob, who, although he is not Tufa, does have their swarthy skin and dark hair, and is able to sometimes see things that only a true Tufa can. Bliss Overbay, introduced to us in the first book in the series, senses that Rob has been sent to Cloud County for a reason, and she is determined to find out what that reason is. It all ties together in a complex plot that weaves political, family, and tribal traditions into a world that is changing, whether the Tufa like it or not.
Bledsoe has created a fascinating world with the Tufa. Weaving fairy tales, mythology, magic, music, and modern day influences into a world where time and the outside world are not always welcome, but unavoidably creeping in. There is a fair amount of violence in the story, but it is in keeping with the tale and doesn’t feel out of place. We get more background on the Tufa themselves and some questions from the first book are answered or at least confirmed, but there is still some mystery about these characters. The individual storylines merge neatly and satisfyingly in the end.
I have enjoyed both of the books I have read in this series and look forward to reading the rest. Fans of mythology, urban fantasy, music, and magic set in modern times should look into the Tufa.
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