Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Promises to Keep” as Want to Read:
Promises to Keep
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Promises to Keep (Newford #22)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  862 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Jilly Coppercorn of Newford is back. With the help of a mentor and an anonymous benefactor, the talented young artist has overcome her troubled past and is enrolled in art school. The future is full of bright promise.

Although she still struggles, Jilly feels safe and loved by her newly formed family, including her loyal best friend Geordie, lovely fellow-classmate Sophie...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 15th 2011 by Tachyon Publications (first published September 4th 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Promises to Keep, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Promises to Keep

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,736)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I still maintain that Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors, though I've been somewhat disappointed by his work in the past couple of years. What has happened, honestly, is that I've grown to recognize some of the weaknesses in his writing -- a heavy-handedness with exposition, a certain kind of preachyness -- but his stories are still good stories, at the core. The issue here, with Promises to Keep, is that most of this stuff is already known, if you know Jilly from his other novels. Ev...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Sep 30, 2011 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists, muscians, healers, and the healing
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: the publisher
4.5 stars actually.

Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

An accessible and life-affirming novella which takes the reader on a trip from the dark stages of addiction and abuse to a kind of whole-ness; set in a realistic and magical setting.

About: Young Jilly Coppercorn, our story's narrator, has not had an easy life. The victim of abuse of various kinds – much of it at the hands of family members - it has been a struggle to stay alive, let alone clean and drug free. Now off the drugs she is...more
Another installment in the life of Jilly Coppercorn, inhabitant of the wonderful imaginary city of Newford, created by the author Charles de Lint. Previous stories have clued us into Jilly's early life and generally how Jilly's life worked itself out at the end, but this novella fills in a bit of the gap in the middle. This tale originally was supposed to be a short story but went overlong.

I was a little less enchanted with this Newford story than I have been with the others simply because there...more
Promises to Keep was a wonderful first experience with de Lint and left me wanting to explore more of his work. While the book did feel a little drawn out and some of the flashbacks did seem a bit repetitive, it was easy to overlook in favor of de Lint’s superb prose. The story of Jilly Coppercorn is rough and incredibly humbling and the respect with which de Lint treated her life should be noted as it kept him from going over-the-top when he easily could have. The lack of obvious fantasy could...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Confession time: This is my first ever Charles de Lint book. And yes, I’m suitably embarrassed that I run a blog called All Things Urban Fantasy and haven’t read the Father of Urban Fantasy. In my defense, I discovered the genre through Buffy, and it was quite a while before I even heard about Charles de Lint. My ignorance excuse ran out a long time ago, but I still shied away because once I understood exactly who de Lint was and what he means to this g...more
Mar 12, 2009 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amanda by: I'm a de Lint junkie.
I spent a great deal of time being angry at Mr. de Lint for introducing me to a Jilly that's completely wrong. And while I'm still miffed at him for jilting me, I'll forgive and forget for long enough to dive into the city of Mireya. A mysterious fantasyland in the afterlife, Mireya is the place where milk and honey flow. It's a place where you get what you deserve and all the sweetness of life rains down on you. But does Jilly really, I mean REALLY, want to stay???

Duh. Of course not. After all...more
I enjoyed this book, although I would say it's more like looking at an old photo album with the Newford characters, especially Jilly, than anything else. I am glad he left Jilly in a good place at the end of Widdershins and this isn't a "new" story of her life. Like others, I found the city the most intriguing character in the book. Although not "fantasy", read "The Brief History of the Dead" for similar after-death city stories.
Interesting, this book just seemed like a way to continue a story line from another book, "Widdershins". It didn't have enough tension as a stand alone book.
Another excellent book in the Newford series. I was particularly happy to read this one as I had just finished read The Onion Girl and it was good to go back to period in time where Jilly's life was on more of an upswing. Even though the story took us through some of the darker points in her history, it also took us through recovery and hope... which to me seemed liked a promise for her post-Onion-Girl prospects.... sort of a, "she did this once, she can do again" mentality.

I also just want to...more
This, I liked. Quite a bit.

It's not without it's flaws. It's a bit predictable, for example, but then that's not neccessarily bad. Parts of it are dark, which is to be expected given the subject matter. The plot... really was predictable, now that I think about it. But in this, for me, the importance is the characters. And the way Jilly's thinking changes, and how her friends affect her.

I did love finding out how Jilly and her friends first met, that was lovely. This book is a good prequel for t...more
All right, so I'm partial. I love Charles De Lint!! His novels always take me to a new place, a new adventure. In this case, my favourite character, Jilly Coopercorn, is in her early twenties. She has only just cleaned up her life and is attending Butler University, studying Fine Art. Jilly is given an invitation to see a band preform and so walks through a doorway to an afterlife.

I say "an afterlife" because, as the book says, there could be several. Jilly is given everything she was denied in...more
Disclaimer: I love De Lint's work, and the likelihood of giving him a bad review is very slim. This slim little volume reads more like a stretched-out short story than a "novel", and at 181 pages of actual writing, I have a hard time calling it such.

Those familiar with De Lint's fictional setting of Newford will find themselves in familiar territory, especially if they've read "The Onion Girl" and "Widdershins". "Promises to Keep" fills in more of the back story of Jilly Coppercorn, telling how...more
Laura de Leon
I love Charles de Lint, and I love his Newford books. I haven't read all of them, but I've read most of them.

This book fills in some of the story of Jilly's past. She's referred to these events frequently, and she's told the story of how she emerged from her life of abuse before. There's another part of her story that I haven't encountered before, a part where she explores a world that isn't the same Otherworld that Newford has such a strong link to, but a world the de Lint explores in The Myste...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
This is Charles de Lint.

Promises to Keep is a novella about everyone's favorite Newford artist, Jilly Coppercorn. But this time we're seeing Jilly when she's fresh off the streets and getting started as a student at Butler University. The transition isn't easy, especially when Jilly's best friend from her street days shows up with an offer Jilly finds hard to refuse.

Apparently this started out as a short story about Jilly, but it grew into this little book. I devoured it in a few hours.

I really...more
Star (The Bibliophilic Book Blog)
To start off, I have to tell you all that I HEART (yes, capitals!) Charles de Lint! I've read (and own) as many of his books as I've been able to find. When Promises to Keep showed up in the mail, I had to squee (and I did)! Okay, okay - enough gushy stuff :-D

Promises to Keep is another Newford story focusing on Jilly Coppercorn - a girl who has reinvented herself after living through so much childhood trauma. She's doing well with school and work and coming into her own with her art. Then one d...more
It's no secret that I adore CdL's writing, and Jilly Coppercorn is one of my favorite of the Newford characters. Although at first I was disappointed with the length of this book (under 200 pages), upon completing it, I'm totally satisfied with it.

Jilly really is one of my favorite literary characters. She's been through to hell and back, and made the conscious choice to change things around. Widdershins, a full-length novel about her, really affected me in its themes of surviving and not being...more
Jillian Mcclelland
So this is my second Newford novel (the first being the legitimate "first" by De Lint) and I have to say...the guy writes with a very heavy hand. The redemption arc that Jilly was on had many stereotypical elements, that were equally balanced through heart-wrenching moments where she falters. I've always had an affinity for Jilly Coppercorn, although it might largely be in the name. I relate to this woman as a person who struggles with their art and is open about all aspects of their life. Jilly...more
Sam Colloff
this isn't one of my favourites by de lint, but to be honest I find even my less favourites of his are some of the better books I've read, and the better ones of his are among the best I've read. to quote one of the reviews at the front of this book - his work is "poignant, it's moving, it makes me want to be a better person".
May 31, 2008 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like stories with female leads and supernatural elements
I have a very short and demanding attention span, and this book was able to grab it. It was the first book by Charles de Lint I've read. I knew he mixes the urban environment with the supernatural and fairy tale world, but I didn't know what else to expect, and I thought this book was a good place to start because it's short.

The book is about a young girl named Jilly, who comes from a harsh family and childhood and enters the foster care system to befriend a girl named Donna. After the girls par...more
Jun 01, 2011 Julia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who already read de Lint
Shelves: reread, urban-fantasy
From September 15, 2008:
I love love love Jilly Coppercorn and her search for family and community in Newford is why I read de Lint. Whether reading about her or Geordie or Lily from Someplace to Be Flying or Maxine and Imogene from The Blue Girl they are all magic and create magic. This book is slight, and not necessarily where I would recommend a newcomer to Newford should begin. But to those of us who have all the maps internalized, it's one that has to be read.
On the jacket copy, Charles de Lint mentions that this short novel began as a short story and grew into a novel. This is very obvious in reading the novel, unfortunately. Despite its reliance on de Lint's stock characters (Jilly Coppercorn, Geordie Riddel, etc.), this would have been a pretty strong short story. Instead, it's padded out with still more flashbacks to Jilly's terrible early life, and in general feels repetitive and overly long. Also, not to be totally nitpicky, but some of it does...more
I love Charles de Lint. I've read mostly his complete novels as opposed to his short stories. I've often wondered what I might be missing out on by doing this. Unfortunately, if this book is representative of his short stories, I'll stick with the novels. While I didn't think it was a bad book, it just seemed to end abruptly and could have used a little more development of the main character. While I was introduced to Jilly, I didn't feel like I learned everything essential about her. I felt lik...more
L. C.
This was, as usual, a fun read with some deeper moments [abuse triggers, in case anyone needs a notice]. It wasn't quite as intense as many of his other works, but a good read, nonetheless.
This was a decent book (perhaps "novelette" is more accurate), but as I've read in other reviews - if you've read any other books in the Newford series, you're pretty sure how it's going to end, so there's no sense of suspense. It also doesn't build the characters in any great detail, and is rather short. So it's kind of a fan service for Jilly fans, except that the plot is defanged for anyone who's already familiar with Jilly. I would recommend that if you're interested in Charles de Lint, you...more
Anna Alexander
I fell in love with the city of Newford and its inhabitants when I first read The Onion Girl. I wanted to move there and seek out Jilly Coppercorn and everyone else. I was excited when I found out Charles de Lint wrote another Newford book and ran out and bought it.

This book started out a short novella but de Lint was having so much fun writing it, he turned it into a novel.

I was underwhelmed by this book because he didn't bring in the same raw life and raw magical feeling he brought in the oth...more
I'm re-reading this right now. I have loved the writings of Charles de Lint since I first read Moonheart in the 80's. This has more background information on the earlier life of Jilly Coppercorn, artist and survivor of childhood.

De Lint's books always have mythos and magic in them. This one recognizes personal mythos--what we use to from within ourselves to survive.

I sometimes live in de Lint's imagined city of Newford. The lines between worlds of now, then and if blur there and creatures such...more
Ade Couper
I know I quite often gush about books & authors , but I have to say that if I was rationed to one author for the rest of my life , Charles de Lint would be the one .

Anyway , onto the book , "promises to keep" ; it's set in de Lint's fictional city of Newford , & asks what happens if you go to ...wherever it is you go when you die...BEFORE you're dead? It'a also a fantastic meditation on love , loss , friendship , & how your experiences are what define you .

I could wax lyrical about...more
Feb 16, 2008 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of old school urban fantasy, and, of course, fans of de Lint!
This short novel is a prequel of sorts to The Onion Girl, Widdershins, and other entries in de Lint's Newford cycle of stories; however, readers new to de Lint will enjoy it as well. Jilly Coppercorn is my favorite de Lint character, and Promises to Keep takes us into her past, giving glimpses into her days at the Home for Wayward Girls, her life on the streets, and her early adulthood. As always, there is a fantastical element to Jilly's adventures, which is used to explore questions of respons...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 57 58 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Essential Bordertown (Borderland, #4)
  • Nevernever
  • The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
  • The Urban Fantasy Anthology
  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 (Nebula Awards, #12)
  • Finder (Borderlands)
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5)
  • A Fistful of Sky  (LaZelle, #1)
  • The Summer Country (Summer Country, #1)
  • Hannah's Garden
  • Faerie Tales
  • Singer of Souls (Singer of Souls, #1)
  • The Uncertain Places
  • The Bible Repairman and Other Stories
  • Journal of a UFO Investigator
  • Queen of the Amazons (Alexander the Great, #1)
  • The Inverted Forest
Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins.
More about Charles de Lint...
The Blue Girl (Newford, #15) The Onion Girl (Newford, #11) Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1) Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8) Moonheart

Share This Book