The Hum and the Shiver

Alex Bledsoe
The Hum and the Shiver Cover

The Hum and the Shiver


I am a big fan of Appalachian novelists Ron Rash, Lee Smith, and Sharyn McCrumb. This book strikes the same authentic cultural notes that these authors do. Bledsoe is clearly basing his Tufa people on the Melungeon people of the Cumberland Gap. I have read a lot about the Melungeons and the biases that they face. It is refreshing to see Bledsoe has recast this cultural bias into a strong matriarchal population.

Bledsoe also strikes a good balance in offering up just enough mystery about the Tufas' power without going too far down the path of mythological connections. Although, I do believe that the later novels in the series will reveal more details.

Bronwyn Hyatt is a plausible and conflicted lead character whom I enjoyed very much. I found her portrayal rife with commentary about women's roles and their ability to make their own choices, especially in traditional and insular cultures.

By reading the blurbs of the next books, I see that these are set in the same location but are not specifically about the same characters. I hope that I am able to see a glimpse of the Hyatts and the Swaybacks and their futures.

I look forward to reading the other novels in the series.