So I have managed to complete the first of my five books for the Once Upon a Time II challenge and what a book it was! Forests of the Heart is the first Charles de Lint book I have ever read, and it certainly won’t be the last. I loved the mix of Celtic and Native American mythology which he has used for the foundation of this genuinely magical story, and will be trotting off to look up more background information on some of the figures and traditions he uses.

The novel is set in his fictional town of Newford, with a thriving artistic and musical community partly based in a house called Kellygnow. It’s within this community that we find the beginnings of a struggle between the spirits of the native peoples and those that have travelled across the sea with newcomers, in this case the Irish. Drawn into this story are two women, Bettina, who is Mexican/Native American and a healer with strong magic, and Ellie, a sculptor who doesn’t realise that within her too is magic, and who has taken on a commission which will set something ancient in motion.

As I said at the beginning, I loved this novel, I thought the human realtionships were realistically complicated, and that issues around the place of magic in the modern world were convincingly addressed. I can see now why so many love de Lint’s work, and would recommend it to anyone as a good place to start.

By the way, I’ve decided to start using larger pictures in the blog, as the lovely detail of so many of them gets lost in a thumbnail. Let me know what you think.