Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seven Wild Sisters by Charles de Lint, illusrated by Charles Vess

Sarah Jane Dillard has six sisters, older, younger, all with their own passions and interests and minds of their own.  Sarah Jane loves nothing more than helping old Aunt Lillian on her isolated farm.  Aunt Lillian tells wonderful stories of fairies and magic, which she insists are true, but Sarah Jane doesn't really believe her.  Then one day Sarah Jane finds a real fairy, and before she knows it she and all her sisters are drawn into a long-standing war between two fairy clans.  Sarah Jane must get them out before they are trapped forever.
Seven Wild Sisters was originally published 2002 and is the 12th book in the Newford series.  It's a bit confusing, but it seems like some of the books in the series are being re-released or recycled?  In 2013 The Cats of Tanglewood Forest was published (for the first time it looks like) and Seven Wild Sisters is being billed as a companion novel to it.  I have not read The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, or any of the other books in the Newford series for that matter, and still liked Seven Wild Sisters a lot.  And it made me want to read The Cats of Tanglewood forest so I could know Lillian's story.

While Sarah Jane was the main focus of the story and we learned most about her, I liked that the other sisters weren't just props. They had their own personalities and quirks.  Adie is the oldest, and bit of a rebel without a cause.  Elsie is fascinated with nature and draws plants and animals.  The older twins, Laurel and Bess love music, and the younger twins, Ruth and Grace are mischief makers and practical jokers.  They didn't all have big roles to play, but they were all part of the story.

Sarah Jane feels a bit apart from her sisters.  She doesn't feel like she has a talent.  She's quiet and thoughtful like Elsie, but doesn't have something to focus on.  She likes stories, and Aunt Lillian, who isn't actually her aunt, has plenty.  She also finds she likes working with her hands.  While Sarah Jane is trying to save her sisters from angry fairies, she's finding out the kind of person she is and who she wants to be.

We really only get hints of the world in Seven Wild Sisters.  I got a feeling that a lot more about the fairy world was learning in The Cats of Tanglewood Forest.  Fairies aren't beautiful and sweet in this world.  There are many different kinds of fairies some at war with each other.  They all seem to fear and respect the King of Cats, who we hear about but never actually see.

Seven Wild Sisters comes out February 4, 2014.

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