Author Alex Bledsoe grew up in Tennessee, and the Smokey Mountains on the Tennessee / North Carolina border are the setting for his “Tufa” novels: “No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the mountains of East Tennessee. When the first Europeans came to the Smoky Mountains, the Tufa were already there. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations….”
The first Tufa book, 2011’s The Hum and the Shiver, was named one of the best novels of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and I’ve “read” it myself — well, I listened to Stefan Rudnicki and Emily Janice Card narrate it for me in audiobook format. I loved the interplay of music and magic in a contemporary New South setting of veterans returning from the Middle East, unemployment, and the isolation of the mountain, and have been looking forward to checking out book two, the just-published Wisp of a Thing. I’ll get my chance — and so can you! — tomorrow night at Chapel Hill’s Flyleaf Books [Facebook Event] as Bledsoe visits for a reading and signing.
For Wisp of a Thing, Bledsoe creates a new stand-alone story rather than a direct sequel. Here’s a couple reviews of the new book:
“Rob Quillen, a folk singer whose girlfriend died in a plane crash, seeks out the mysterious Tufa people in search of the song he believes will mend his broken heart. Though the Tufa appear to be a racially ambiguous Appalachian subculture, they’re actually descendants of the Fae, capable of strange magics. Hunting his song, Rob becomes caught up in the fate of Curnen, a troubled girl under a terrible curse, and Stoney Hicks, a Tufa man who has been carelessly seducing and destroying women with his magical charms. Bledsoe brings a real warmth and a messy humanity to his modern-day fairy story, with strong characterization and a passionate love of music. Set in the same world as The Hum and the Shiver, this stand-alone novel feels more heartfelt and is written with a lighter touch, fulfilling all of the first book’s early promise and hitting the sweet spot between glossy and gritty.” -Publishers Weekly
“This beautifully handled drama of Appalachian music and magic once again comes complete with fascinating characters, a persuasive setting and intriguing complications. Bledsoe’s on a roll.” –Kirkus (starred review)
Alex Bledsoe is the author of “The Hum and the Shiver, ” as well as the novels in the Eddie LaCrosse series: “The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, ” and “Dark Jenny.” He grew up in west Tennessee and has been a reporter, editor, photographer, and door-to-door salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls where he writes and spends time with his family.