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.
De Lint takes us back to Newford and environs, his most extensive creation, where things and people from dreams and lore and story pass easily into the human world and draw humans into theirs. When Lizzie Mahone's car breaks down at a crossroads in the early hours of the morning, and she is rescued from a gang of particularly thuggish spirits by a kindlier one, she takes her first step into the world of the spirits of the land and also into the midst of brawls and rivalries between aboriginal spirits and others who have arrived over the centuries. The dwellers in the otherlands have adapted to changes wrought by time and technology but, not having altered their nature, are as capriciously helpful or harmful to humans as they ever were in any folktale. Lizzie's introduction to the otherlands draws her into the circle of similar characters in de Lint's previous Newford books. Indeed, Widdershins is also a story of Jilly Coppercorn, the crippled heroine of The Onion Girl (2001). De Lint weaves the individual characters' stories into a tight-knit whole, accompanied by music, love, pugnacity, frustration, and healing. Many of his faithful readers see the people he has created as kin they want to keep up with. Walk widdershins (i.e., counterclockwise) once and you may, too.