PROMISES TO KEEP by Charles de Lint, illustrated by Mike Dringenberg. Burton, Mi; Subterranean Press; 20076. 1st edition trade hardcover.
"After Widdershins, I thought I wouldnít write at length about Jilly again. Iíd promised one more short story about her for Bill at Subterranean Press, but that would be it. Having left her in a good place at the end of Widdershins, I didnít want to complicate her life yet again, so I planned to set the story earlier in her life, during her first year as a student at Butler University.
Except the story grew. I was having too much fun visiting with this younger Jilly, so I asked Bill if I could expand it and swap it for the ďbest of NewfordĒ collection that heíd contracted with me. He agreed, so now Iím busily working away on this as-yet-untitled novella.
It takes place in 1972 and begins with Jilly getting a surprise visit from an old friend--her only friend--from her runaway days. Interspersed with the main story that leads off from that meeting are flashbacks to pivotal moments in her life: time spent in the Home for Wayward Girls, her life on the street, meeting and working with the Grasso Street Angel, the first time she meets various familiar faces (Geordie, Sophie, etc.), and chronicles how the messed-up street kid she was grew a social conscience, and became the cheerful character we know from later stories.
Although the book does deal with some serious subjects, the tone isnít all doom and gloom. And while I hope that those of you familiar with these characters will enjoy this visit with their younger selves, Iím also trying to make it a friendly entry into Newford for new readers.
Lastly, Iím delighted to say that Mike Dringenberg--an artist Iíve wanted to work with for ages--will be doing the cover."
- Charles de Lint.
"De Lint returns to Newford and Jilly Coppercorn's youth, which readers of The Onion Girl 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... 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."
From Endicott Studio:
Promises to Keep is a beautiful new chapter in Jilly's story. De Lint perfectly captures the voice and character of Jilly at this early point in her life, and allows readers a glimpse of her journey to become the person we know from the later Newford Tales. It's that becoming that is the focus of Promises to Keep. De Lint lets us see the choices Jilly makes, as well as how and why she makes them, as she starts to build a life that she can be proud of. She navigates the perils of old friendships, and the joys of new ones as she learns that she's worthy of making -- and keeping -- promises.
"Since his earliest Newford tales, de Lint has been sketching out his portrait of Jilly. The intriguing, enigmatic figure grew clearer and more defined with each story, and with the publication of Widdershins and The Onion Girl, some readers might have thought there was nothing more to tell.
"But, as the title of this story suggests, Jilly has miles to go before she sleeps. The character has an incredible, perhaps endless number of layers, and each is fresh and exciting. In this case, the young runaway, recovered addict and budding artist does not yet believe in magic or mystery in the world; that impression is about to change."
From Library Journal:
Returning to one of his most beloved characters, de Lint brings to light another tale of enchantment and mystery, one that explores the choices people make and the promises they choose to keep."
If you're already a fan of the works of Charles De Lint, you're going to enjoy this filling in the blanks story of Jilly. If you've never read anything of his before -- take a chance on this story and look up his other works too."
Fine in fine dj. OUT OF PRINT FROM THE PUBLISHER.