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Promises to Keep Hardcover – September 25, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After a childhood of abuse and drug addiction, Jilly Coppercorn, last seen in de Lint's Widdershins (2006), is well on her way to being normal as an art school student when she runs into Donna Birch, her only friend from the bad old days, at the start of this appealing urban fantasy set in Newford in 1972. Donna takes Jilly into a realm similar to this world, but where things have a way of working out better. It's almost a paradise, a place where dreams are almost too easily realized, until Jilly realizes that the inhabitants are actually dead, souls whose lives were unfulfilled. She can continue pleasantly enough, but only by abandoning her responsibilities to all the people who helped her back in the living world. While much of this will resonate more with longtime fans of de Lint's Newford series, the lucid writing and well-realized characters make this short novel accessible even to new readers. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

De Lint returns to Newford and Jilly Coppercorn's youth, which readers of The Onion Girl (2005) and other Jilly stories know was extremely painful. The setting here is Jilly's early college days. She is just beginning to put her abused past behind her. One evening she runs into her only friend from her days in a juvenile institution, one of the few who know her original name. Bass-playing Donna invites Jilly to see her band. But no one has heard of the club in question. That's not surprising in Newford, where things and people come and go, and some things exist only for those who can sense them. When Jilly goes walking with Donna after the show, she enters another town, in which she can put the past even further behind and be what she should have been without the intervening wasted years. De Lint presents Jilly's choices, the memories impelling them, and the solution to the riddle of Donna in his characteristic powerful yet intimate style. Jilly's reader friends, including those first meeting her, will be more than delighted. Murray, Frieda
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; Deluxe edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159606126X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596061262
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,636,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles de Lint and his wife, the artist MaryAnn Harris, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His evocative novels, including Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, and The Onion Girl, have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This weekend, my copy of Promises to Keep arrived. I had intended to let it sit until I had finished some of the work that I had do, but then it's hard to focus on preparing a talk when there is a bright shiny new Charles de Lint book sitting there looking at you. I swear, the book had little glistening eyes that watched everything I did and then suddenly looked away whenever I checked to see what it was doing. But I digress...

As stated in the "story about the book" on the inside cover, this was the book that grew from a short story that was to be put into a collection of stories that were never collected. It's about Jilly's early years in Newford, as Charles de Lint doesn't want to write more about her after Widdershins (Newford). It's a fine story which takes its time popping between Jilly's early life and "present day", which is when Jilly is in college. I won't spoil any of the plot points, but to say that it is fully consistent with the mythologies around Newford.

To digress a bit, the best thing about the first Alien movie was that no one really knew what the alien was. There was a sense of mystery and discovery there that wasn't possible to achieve in later films until AVP came along and reset the story. In many ways, this book does that for Newford. In fact, Charles de Lint states that he hopes that this book can become a good entry point for new readers. However, much like I wouldn't want a viewer to start with AVP, I wouldn't want a reader to start here.

There is as great a joy in rediscovery as there is in the initial discovery. If someone reads this book first, the later books will feel like review. However, if you start at the beginning with Dreams Underfoot and meander slowly through the rest of Newford, this book will feel like what it truly is. A sweet little bonus to Jilly's story; one that I'm happy to have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're considering this book, then you're probably already familiar with Jilly Coppercorn. This is a great way to delve into her past.
If you've never read a Charles de Lint book then you're in for a treat, though earlier books would be better to begin with. de Lint does his magic like no other writer. A mixture of Modern urban, Celtic & Indian myth/folklore, served with a side of human catalyst.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Charles De Lint and my favorite are the Newford characters. It was interesting to find out more about Jilly Coppercorn's previous life and what made her become the person she is today. A dose of real life problems interwoven with real fantasy. He always has you believing that it all could possibly exist out there!
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De Lint keeps many of his main characters in his books. This book follows Jilly Coppercorn along her road of ups and downs,

Because he follows his characters you begin to know them more intimately from book to book.

Join the De Lint fan base and read one of his books.
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After reading through most of De Lint's Newford novels and short stories through the years, up to "Widdershins", I'm glad to have a chance to read about Jilly, the Riddells, and the rest of the main characters back when they were young. It's a short novel, but it was cool to revisit these characters and the setting. It felt like visiting old friends who've grown up with me.
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Another great read by Charles De Lint. De Lint's ability to combine a beautiful and hopeful otherworldliness with the grit and challenge of realistic everyday modern life makes an interesting story - one that allows the reader's imagination to open. Excellent character development.
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Format: Hardcover
This book returns to Jilly's earlier life, but she has just started her journey away from using drugs & streetwalking. It was an interesting idea to have someone come back, from her past. As always de Lint has a beautiful way of writing.
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