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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whither Jilly and Geordie?
Like with many other de Lint fans, the ubiquitous characters Jilly and Geordie stand tall among my favorite Newford inhabitants. Jilly Coppercorn is the wise, tender, eccentric artist with a tortured past, a serene present and a gift for looking for the best in all things and all people -- despite her own tragedies. Geordie Riddell is the itinerant fiddler, the...
Published on May 17, 2006 by Tom Knapp

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Start Here
Maybe don't start with de Lint at all. He's one of the authors, along with Tad Williams, whom I keep trying to like because they show so much promise. Both Williams and de Lint create fascinating premises, which, in my opinion, are undermined by often painful dialogue and *slightly* lacking characters. That's just me, though--if you enjoy Williams, you'll likely find de...
Published on July 29, 2007 by Avidreader1497


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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whither Jilly and Geordie?, May 17, 2006
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
Like with many other de Lint fans, the ubiquitous characters Jilly and Geordie stand tall among my favorite Newford inhabitants. Jilly Coppercorn is the wise, tender, eccentric artist with a tortured past, a serene present and a gift for looking for the best in all things and all people -- despite her own tragedies. Geordie Riddell is the itinerant fiddler, the good-hearted friend and one of Newford's last skeptics -- until he, too, was forced to accept the realities of the fey. These two have been woven in and around many of de Lint's stories, both as primary characters and background support. And now, finally, de Lint is ready to tell their story.

It's no disappointment. For the sake of de Lint fans as eager as I was to see this one out to its conclusion, I'll refrain from repeating too many details here.

But let's begin with a few hints. Sure, the book revolves counterclockwise around Jilly and Geordie, but there are other Newford inhabitants, both new and old, who populate this tale. One is Lizzie Mahone, a musician whose car stalls in the middle of a growing war between North America's native and immigrant fey. Grunts from one side of the battle lines threaten the young girl, while a solitary member of the other comes to her rescue.

But don't sell the division short; de Lint is too canny a writer to draw a clear-cut line between good and evil. Both sides have their share of each and, even more common still, there are folk and faeries who exist somewhere in between. And, entwined within the larger frameworks of war are silkier threads of personal vengeance, hatred and murder.

Of course, both native and immigrant mythologies are richly presented, building further on the groundwork laid in de Lint's previous stories. There is bold, realistic and sometimes idealistic character development along the way, including both romance and heartache, and the story -- presented from various points of view -- leaps from its pages and comes to life in the very air around you.

Jilly, meanwhile, vanishes into a reality of her own devising, built from the nightmares of her childhood. Geordie's noble efforts to save her put himself in peril. And Lizzie is still coming to grips with this whole mythic reality she's stumbled into. Others, including fan favorites, the Crow Girls, and the great bird of the galaxy who just might have brought this world into being, have their parts to play as well before a final resolution is reached.

I've praised de Lint's writing in the past, but I've run out of superlatives for Widdershins. It is easily one of the best -- if not the best -- novels in his vast library.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always happy to read De Lint, May 23, 2006
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This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
Once again, Mr. De Lint has given us a fine novel that continues the story of various people, human and not, that live around one imaginary city in Canada. While I was first attracted to his books by the lovely fantasy, I have kept coming back because of his good character development over time. This book does not disappoint. Here we finally find Geordie and Jilly together in a story that includes all my favorites: The Crow girls, Raven, Joe, Jack, Fairies, etc. Plus, there is a wonderful description of how it feels to play group music, the joy of it all just coming together perfectly, so well done that I believe Mr. De Lint must play himself. Obviously, this review won't say much to people who have never read him before -- so I'll just say to those folks: Give it a try. If you like native American animal spirits, celtic fairies, good musicians, and pitbulls, you will certainly enjoy this book! I did! For those of you who already know and love these books, you don't need any other encouragement to read than the fact that this has been published! Enjoy!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And the hits just keep on coming..., January 24, 2007
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This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
We return to Newford and revisit two of my favorite characters in all of fantasy, Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Jilly is a wonderfully whimsical artist, now hampered by a physical disability and Geordie is a brilliant fiddler with serious commitment issues which leave him drifting through what could othwise be a prosperous musical career. Both have been friends forever, but even though there has been speculation, they have never gotten together as a couple due to bad timing and a series of spectacularly disasterous relationships and old baggage on both parts.

I've been a DeLint fan for years, but I was really disappointed at the end of The Onion Girl when Jilly, who of all of Newford's citizens, wants to believe and be touched by otherworldly magic the most, is left crippled and unable to visit the otherworld after her magical encounter.

Now, finally, we see a conclusion to the Jilly & Geordie saga in a story rife with new charaters, Animal People, and fairy. Just as in DeLint's other works, we find new trails of stories intertwined with the main plot and explore human nature in a provoking manner. Appearances by other old friends, like the Crow Girls, pop up thoughout and just make the whole experience more enjoyable.

A great ending to a familiar chapter...or is it a beginning?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book, January 1, 2008
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
This is the book that made me fall in love with the Newford characters. I picked it up as an advanced reader's copy at work (I of course work at a bookstore). I didn't think i'd like it to be honest but the cover art drew me in. I was bored one night and started reading it, before I knew it I had read a hundred some pages and it was 2 in the morning! If you're in the market to start reading Charles De Lint. Start with this one. It's entertaining and even though it's not suspense it keeps you on the edge of your seat just waiting what will happen next. It's extremely well paced - no dry spots. Even though this is actually the sequel to Onion Girl I would suggest reading this one first, it explains the reader's digest version of what happened in Onion Girl without making you feel as though you're missing anything. Then go back and read Onion Girl. I suggest this because Onion Girl has the most characters in any book i've ever seen and if you're already familiar with just a few of those characters it makes it so much easier. Jilly (the main character) is so easy to connect with, you'll love her. ;)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have 'discovered' Charles De Lint and I will never be the same, August 22, 2007
By 
Carl V. Anderson (Blue Springs, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Paperback)
If the name Charles de Lint sounds familiar to you and yet you haven't read any of his work it may be for a number of reasons. You may have seen the many striking book covers graced by the work of John Jude Palencar as you walk down the fantasy aisles. Or it may be because Charles de Lint has written over 40 novels, has numerous short story collections, writes poetry, and is a Celtic folk musician. Whatever the reason, the name Charles de Lint should be familiar to you. If it is not, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to remedy that situation as quick as possible.

Widdershins is a novel set in de Lint's Newford series. Charles de Lint has set almost 20 novels in the fictional North American city of Newford, a place with a cast of human characters that intersect with people of the faerie realm and Native American spirits. I picked up Widdershins as my first de Lint novel because the hints that it was a love story intrigued me. I like a bit of romance with my science fiction and fantasy. It was also advertised as a book that one could read without having read any of the other Newford books: a fact that I can wholeheartedly attest to.

A varying cast of characters inhabit de Lint's Newford books, so not each book is about the same people. Some of the characters in Widdershins have no doubt had a presence in some of the other books, but he does such a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the characters in a way that does not feel awkward, does not feel like a recap of other stories, that you begin to know the characters very intimately right from the start.

Two of the principal characters of Widdershins are Jilly and Geordie, characters that have had a presence in other Charles de Lint books, most notably the book The Onion Girl. In an author's note at the beginning of the book, Charles de Lint states that Widdershins arose out of numerous fan requests to find out what happened to Jilly and Geordie after the events of The Onion Girl. Eventhough Widdershins can be read as a stand alone book, if you have any desire to read The Onion Girl without having the ending spoiled for you, you should probably read that one first. I have a feeling that I know a lot about that book from reading Widdershins (and yet I loved the characters so much I still feel compelled to go read The Onion Girl...that alone should tell you how much I loved de Lint's writing).

So after all that introduction, what is the book about? Well, it is about a group of young adult celtic musicians and how a seemingly innocent decision sets in motion circumstances that will involve humans, faerie, Native American mythological creatures, and other old, folkloric characters...circumstances that will build towards a war that could have devastating effects on members of each race. In addition to that it is a story about healing from abuse, a story of self-examination, a story of life examination. Mix in an appreciation for Celtic music, deep characterization, a writing style that builds and builds upon itself, pulling the reader right into that world, and you have Widdershins. And, I suspect, any of Charles de Lint's novels.

Charles de Lint's work has been called "fantasy for people who don't read fantasy" and this is a pretty accurate definition. While de Lint certainly treats many of the typical fantasy/fairy tale subjects, he does so in such a serious, fluid manner that it never feels silly. It rarely even feels like fantasy in the way some other books do. There is such a strong folklore and mythology element to his work that it feels as if you are reading a story rich with historical spiritual and cultural elements. In Widdershins it is all very real, and very fascinating. Each relatively short chapter in Widdershins is about a specific character, told from their point of view. The effect of this is that you get to know each character very intimately, and the suspense of the various threads of the tale builds and builds as they are woven together towards the climax. I literally found myself reading faster and faster as events began to get more and more intense. It is a very good book.

Widdershins reminded me of two other stories: American Gods and Lord of the Rings. Widdershins shares a very strong bond with American Gods in its treatment of how gods, faerie, mythological creatures, etc. followed the humans, particularly the Europeans, as they migrated to North America. The effect that this has on the spirits already present in North America is treated similarly in both books. If you liked one, I guarantee you'll like the other. Both books are cut from the same rich, cultural/mythological cloth. It reminded me of Lord of the Rings in that a significant amount of time was spent with each character after the grand climax, allowing the reader to see resolution of the various issues and allowing a glimpse into where each character would go from here. I really enjoyed that as I became so strongly attached to so many of the characters that it gave me time to gently let them all go. It is a very effective writing style.

And finally, I mentioned something about abuse. If you work in the mental health field in any capacity then I highly recommend this book. Its treatment of the healing of abuse is so profound that I was deeply moved by that plot line alone, not to mention the many other wonderful things Widdershins has to offer. Charles de Lint has some wonderful insight into the healing of the human soul.

Widdershins is a fantastic, rich, complex and wonderful book. I give it my highest of recommendations and count myself as a new fan of Charles de Lint.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Fine Wine: Complex and Haunting, July 15, 2006
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
This book lured me back to Newford after being away for a few years. I am glad to be back!

Widdershins has all the things I love about Charles de Lint stories: artists and musicians, fairies and manitou, wilderness and streetscapes. This time, there's plenty of humor and even romance along with the usual magic, music and simmering power.

Some of de Lint's books are a tad too dark for me, but this one has a good mix of darkness and light. Maybe I'm just a sucker for a love story complete with bogans, doonies and fairy courts.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Start Here, July 29, 2007
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Paperback)
Maybe don't start with de Lint at all. He's one of the authors, along with Tad Williams, whom I keep trying to like because they show so much promise. Both Williams and de Lint create fascinating premises, which, in my opinion, are undermined by often painful dialogue and *slightly* lacking characters. That's just me, though--if you enjoy Williams, you'll likely find de Lint a worthwhile read. Everybody has different "must haves" and for me it's character/dialogue over plot/premise.

Regardless, this book shouldn't be your first de Lint experience because it's a sequel of sorts to earlier work. It *does* stand on its own, but you should check other titles and reviews for a first time recommendation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return visit to Newford and old friends, July 14, 2006
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
For anyone who's been reading de Lint's Newford stories--this is Jilly and Geordie's story. They've been the best of friends, closer than friends, since their college days, and pretty much continuously, one of them has always been involved with someone else--not that that's ever worked out for either of them in the long run. But even they couldn't keep that up forever.

The story within which they finally get appropriately whacked with two-by-fours concerns the efforts of one of the old native spirits, one who really knows how to carry a grudge, to engineer a war between the spirits and the immigrant fairies who migrated to this continent with the Europeans. Joe, Galfreya, the Crow Girls, Christiana, Whiskey Jack, Raven, and other familiar figures from past tales all get involved, frequently with some confusion as to who is supposed to be on whose side. (This confusion is aided by the fact that the grudge-holding spirit's major grudge isn't against the fairies.) It's a solid, enjoyable story, but maybe not the best place to start if you haven't read any of the Newford stories before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another great from de Lint, August 4, 2006
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This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
For Jilly Coppercorn fans, this finally satisfies the quandry over will she ever find love?. It is the ultimate sequel to The Onion Girl and I'm glad that Mr. de Lint finally got back to Jilly and Geordie. It is not to be read as a stand alone however, as to understand the story line one must read the Onion Girl first, otherwise reading this book would be a little confusing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine story within an unfocused framework, May 16, 2008
By 
Kylopod (Baltimore, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Widdershins (Newford) (Hardcover)
"Widdershins" deals very satisfyingly with unresolved matters from "The Onion Girl" (my favorite De Lint book to this date), and it is a must-read for those interested in knowing how Jilly faces her paralysis and her relationship with Geordie. The sections involving these topics are fresh and exciting, and they lead to emotional high points of great intensity. But between these sections lies some less-than-exhilarating material.

As readers of "The Onion Girl" know, Jilly as a child was repeatedly raped by her brother then became a junkie and prostitute living on the streets. After a kind cop rescued her, she grew up to be a warm, flighty artist with a huge heart. But she eventually was hit by a car and lost the ability to paint. Her magical friends may one day be able to repair her body, but only after she confronts the emotional wounds from her past.

Through a chain of events too complicated to explain, she ends up trapped in her "heart home," a piece of the otherworld comprised of people and places she unknowingly created out of her own memories. According to the book, a heart home is normally a happy and peaceful place, but as we see here, it can be an incredibly dangerous place, where one's deepest fears and hangups become a reality. For Jilly, the experience quickly turns into a life-threatening nightmare.

The manner in which she and some other characters handle this situation is fascinating, and I enjoyed every moment of it. But this is only one of several plot threads. The book centers on a potential war between fairies and "cousins." Fairies, we are told, came to the Americas along with the European explorers. Cousins are the original inhabitants, consisting of people who can take the form of specific animals, depending on their bloodline. (The book's cover art has nothing to do with the story, and that's too bad, because a picture of the man with the deer head would have been cool.)

The plot is set into motion by a cousin from the salmon clan who enlists a gang of bogans (a type of fairy) to hunt down the man who blinded him. They cause so much destruction in their path that they threaten the cold peace currently existing between fairies and cousins. This premise is spurred along by so many mishaps and misjudgments on the part of various characters that it begins to border on comedy, but never quite crosses that border.

While it's an old convention to have the conflict between fictional races serve as a metaphor for racial tensions in our world, De Lint maps out the situation in an intriguingly complex way. Very few of his characters are fundamentally bad. Each group has its own rules and perspective, coming from cultures dominated by powerful sorcery and immense lifespans. ("Human lives are so fleeting compared to ours," remarks one of the fairies condescendingly.) "Widdershins" follows the pattern of De Lint's later books in presenting no clear division between good and evil, and in exploring nonviolent solutions--not quite Gandhi territory, but close.

Jilly is clearly the most compelling character, and the emotional crescendo that her story achieves is unparalleled by anything else in the book. I also like Joe Crazy Dog, the half-crow, half-canine cousin who is the series' closest thing to a traditional hero. But I had trouble warming up to Grey, the cousin being hunted. The book hints at romantic possibilities between him and Lizzie, a spunky fiddler he rescues from the bogans, but he is too wounded from his own experiences to open up to her or anyone else. As for Mother Crone, her character is never developed enough for us to understand the attraction between her and Geordie. She seems to exist in the plot mostly to create a wedge between him and Jilly.

The story of the fairy-cousin skirmishes, in contrast, features a lot of politics and little payoff. Perhaps De Lint is setting up for later developments in future books, though in the introduction he notes that he rarely writes direct sequels. Whatever his plans, the material weighs down an otherwise captivating adventure.

P.S. I unfortunately read "Widdershins" before "The Onion Girl." Do not make the same mistake--not only because it will ruin the surprises of the earlier book, but even more because it will make the later book harder to follow.
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Widdershins (Newford)
Widdershins (Newford) by Charles de Lint (Paperback - June 12, 2007)
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