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Author: Charles de Lint
Publisher: Tor Books, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Published: 2001

If you've read The Newford Stories, then you're likely well aware of Jilly Coppercorn, the fey artist who haunts the city of Newford with haunting paintings of reality and the possibilities unseen within it. Jilly's the kind of person who's a friend to everybody, though not really close. The kind of person who sees magic in everything, and can never quite get enough. The one who believes without seeing, and takes great pleasure in handing that belief off to others.

We know that she came from a hard, mysterious past, but we never get a really clear picture of that, of what she went through. All of which changes now.

The sudden victim of a hit-and-run accident, Jilly finds herself bed bound, with the possibility of never walking again, and must fight despair even as she finds herself capable of traveling to the dream world that she has always desired access to...and must decide which is worth more, the dream, or the continued reality.

Even as forces of vengeance close in to correct mistakes of the past...

Charles de Lint has spent quite some time building up his Urban Fantasy hewn world of Newford, in which most of his books occur, but none have been quite as wrenching as this. Jilly has forever been one of his big, main characters, who seems to float with luck and enchantment, and suddenly everything turns hard.

Admittedly, in stories like Trader and Forests of the Heart, de Lint has made it very clear that he can take his characters on hard journeys, but this really is a clear, clean new start on that. The story is great, but the ending is, finally, rather satisfying as well. Not, mind you, that any of his stories really truly end. But stopping points are certainly found.

The book is quite adult at points, and likely shouldn't be read by children unless they understand points of sexuality and extreme violence. However, with that understanding in mind, it's a fine book, and has exceptional themes for discussion, or just enjoyment over coffee.

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