Thursday, May 12, 2011

Widdershins by Charles de Lint

Widdershins by Charles de Lint

Completion Date: May 7, 2011
Reason for Reading: Carry on with the Series.
Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Since they were introduced in the first Newford story, "Timeskip," back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize what everybody else already knows: that they belong together. But they've been more clueless about how they feel for each other than the characters in When Harry Met Sally. Now in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford's Crowsea area, Jilly and Geordie's story is finally being told.

Before it's over, we'll find ourselves plunged into the rancorous and sometimes violent conflict between the magical North American "animal people" and the more newly-arrived fairy folk. We'll watch as Jilly is held captive in a sinister world based on her own worst memories--and Geordie, attempting to help, is sent someplace even worse. And we'll be captivated by the power of love and determination to redeem ancient hatreds and heal old magics gone sour.

To walk "widdershins" is to walk counterclockwise or backwards around something. It's a classic pathway into the fairy realm. It's also the way people often back slowly into the relationships that matter, the real ones that make for a life. In Widdershins Charles de Lint has delivered one of his most accessible and moving works of his career.
I love Charles de Lint! I have been a bit obsessed with this this series lately. I read Dreams Underfoot, then I moved on to Muse and Reverie. I am also reading The Very Best of Charles de Lint with Carl which contains stories that are part of the Newford world. I decided it was time to get to this novel. I bought it after I read The Onion Girl, but then I contemplated reading the books in the correct order. I gave up on that idea this year. I figure I am going to read what is on my TBR pile, regardless of order, and then I will buy the others to fill in the spots. Besides, it is a Jilly Coppercorn novel and I was really curious what had happened to her. I have read a couple stories that take place after The Onion Girl, but most of them take place before.

I am so happy that I took the time to read this book. I loved it, of course. I think that it was the perfect conclusion of a storyline that has existed since day one. I love Jilly. She is written really well and has quickly become one of my favourite literary characters of all time. I think it was a good idea that I started this series with The Onion Girl because I got introduced to Jilly early on. I also met Geordie, who is an interesting character himself. He has had some interesting storylines over the course of the series, so it was nice to see de Lint focus on him more in this book. I think this was the perfect 'coming together' story. On the one hand, it would have been a perfect book to end the series on, but on the other hand I want more! Thankfully, I still have lots to read in the series and I don't think de Lint has any plans to end the series right now.

Anyway, it is not just the great characters that draw me to Newford over and over again. Part of it is that it is all so believable. The books have a perfect blend of the realistic and the fantastic. I often read them wishing I was the characters in the book because they are experiencing things that I have always wanted to experience. I do read fantasy obsessively, after all. The characters all have stories. You feel like you get to know them during the course of the books. There really isn't many secondary characters. de Lint spends just enough time with all of them that they really feel like they are all main characters by the finally pages. If you can't remember everything about them, there are still aspects of their personality that will stick out for you.

I love this series and think that if you haven't attempted de Lint, you should really try it. I could go on and on about all the wonderful things you have to look forward to by reading them. I think that even though her life is not perfect by any means, I sort of want to be Jilly. In this book, though, Jilly really has to face the ghosts from her past. You really feel for her and understand just how she becomes the Jilly we know and love. No one, no matter how happy they seem, can escape everything... This book just makes Jilly more human. There were a lot of great characters introduced and I cannot wait until I can read more in the series.

Newford Series:
Dreams Underfoot
The Dreaming Place
A Whisper To A Scream (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")
I'll Be Watching You (originally credited to "Samuel M. Key")
Memory And Dream
The Ivory And The Horn
Someplace To Be Flying (Read, but never reviewed.)
Moonlight And Vines
Forests Of The Heart
The Onion Girl
Seven Wild Sisters (also available in Tapping the Dream Tree)
Tapping the Dream Tree
Spirits in the Wires
Medicine Road
The Blue Girl (Read, but never reviewed.)
Make a Joyful Noise
The Hour Before Dawn
Old Man Crow
Little (Grrl) Lost (Read, but never reviewed.)
Promises to Keep
Muse & Reverie


  1. Aaaaaand it's time for me to try Charles de Lint yet again. I used to try a book of his every few years, when I was in school, and I gave up definitively when I started college. But people love him so much, and I want to love him too! I'm trying again.

  2. As I've mentioned before, Widdershins was my first introduction to Charles de Lint. I had been reading *about* him on Terri Windling's Endicott site and other places but it wasn't until I saw this book with its Palencar cover when it was first released that I decided to take the plunge, and it was the love story aspect that made me want to start here. It may have been a bit of a spoiler for a newbie to know at least one aspect of what was going to happen going in, but I didn't care. That was exactly what I wanted. And in the process of reading this book I fell hard for Jilly Coppercorn and became a fan of Newford in all its good and bad aspects.

    I had never read this kind of "realistic" fantasy before, that dealt so thoroughly with the darker aspects of real life and brought such a deep level of humanity to fairy tales and folklore. It is silly to describe the experience as "magical", but magical it was and remains.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this one so much.


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