Title: Whistling Woman
Author: C.C. Tillery
First published December 1, 2011
209 pages, Kindle Edition
In the late 1800s, Bessie Daniels is a headstrong young woman who refuses to conform to the expectations of a proper Southern belle. Despite her mother’s wishes, Bessie is determined to pave her own path in life, just as her Cherokee great-grandmother Elisi taught her.
But unforeseen tragedies strike, leaving Bessie to question everything she thought she knew. When death comes in threes, Bessie must navigate the loss of loved ones and the disintegration of her family.
Even her once-beloved father becomes a stranger to her, and Bessie must grapple with her conflicting emotions. When her father’s actions lead to the death of a close friend, Bessie’s life is forever changed.
Whistling Woman is a poignant tale of loss, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family.
Whistling Woman by C.C. Tillery is a captivating novel that immerses readers in the turbulent world of Appalachia during the Great Depression. The author, a pseudonym for co-authors Cyndi Tillery Hodges and Christy Tillery French, has a deep connection to the region and the book reflects their meticulous research and reverence for its history.
The novel centers on the life of young girl, Aven, who has an extraordinary gift of second sight that terrifies her and her family. Aven navigates the complexities of her supernatural abilities and her coming of age in a rural mountain community that is plagued by poverty, disease, and superstition.
As Aven grows older, she witnesses the harsh realities of life, including the death of loved ones and the social injustices that divide her community. The book is masterfully written, and the authors’ prose captures the essence of the region’s vivid landscapes, the nuances of their dialect, and the intricacies of their social customs.
The characters are fully fleshed out, and readers are invested in their fates until the very end. The authors’ descriptions of the historical context and the social mores of the time are meticulously researched and add an undeniable depth to the novel.
Tillery’s portrayal of the underdog and the marginalized is particularly powerful, and the novel’s central themes of resilience, hope, and the strength of the human spirit resonate deeply with readers. The author also explores relevant themes of racism, sexism, and generational divides, which make the novel all the more poignant and relevant to contemporary issues.
The only shortcoming of the novel is that it can be a bit slow-paced at times, but this allows readers to savor the rich details of the story and deepen their emotional attachment to the characters. Overall, Whistling Woman is a captivating and beautifully told story that offers a memorable portrayal of a region, culture, and time period that is often overlooked in literature.
We highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, those interested in Appalachian history, and anyone who seeks a well-crafted and emotionally resonant story. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.