cover image Promises to Keep

Promises to Keep

Charles de Lint, . . Subterranean, $35 (175pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-126-2

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.)