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Seven Wild Sisters (Newford #19)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  983 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Seven Wild Sisters is a publishing event, a short novel by one of today's finest fantasy writers, Charles de Lint, profusely illustrated by the legendary Charles Vess.

Together, they have created a modern fairy tale about seven sisters growing up in backwoods hill country, and how one of them finds a mystery in the forest that both endangers and could save them all.
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Subterranean Press
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Books about Faery
421st out of 912 books — 1,940 voters
The Blue Girl by Charles  de LintThe Riddle of the Wren by Charles  de LintSomeplace to Be Flying by Charles  de LintMemory and Dream by Charles  de LintThe Mystery of Grace by Charles  de Lint
Best of Charles de Lint
6th out of 100 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 02, 2008 Loren rated it liked it
Mart lent me this book back when we were talking about modern fairy tales. I loved the sense that fairy creatures had adapted or always existed in the hills and hollers, becoming bee fairies and sangmen rather than Sidhe and the Wild Hunt. But the story raised expectations that the Father of Cats -- or native panther -- might appear. While he was invoked, the story dodged around him. I was disappointed.

I also felt that for a book that's only 150 pages, it wasn't necessary to waste 40 pages befor
Feb 17, 2015 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm a bit like Sarah Jane Dillard in that I too "like to know the long history of a thing, not just where and what it might be now...(44-45)" because, having first read The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, I felt more connected to the tale of Seven Wild Sisters than its prequel/companion novel.

What I loved most, about both books, was the relationship between women, especially a young female with her elderly counterpart. That tradition of the two living close together, and the old telling stories
La Coccinelle
A few years ago, over a number of years, I read more than a few of Charles de Lint's books. While I quite like some of his adult novels -- Trader and Yarrow are a couple of my favourites -- I've had mixed results with his books for younger readers. The Blue Girl was good. Dingo... not so much. And then there's Seven Wild Sisters... which again fell a bit short. It's listed as a Newford book on Goodreads, but all that really means is that it takes place in de Lint's fictional city and surrounding ...more
I originally read this a couple of years ago in the original Subterranean Press release. When it came up as a group read this month, I noticed that the new middle grade version is around 100 pages longer and decided to compare the two editions to see where the differences lay.

First, I've got to say that Vess's artwork - both the old art that now is colorized and the brand new art - is as gorgeous as usual.

In terms of the text, I was expecting to see at least a little new content but to my surpr
This book had all the characteristics that I loved in its predecessor, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest: a homey, folkloric atmosphere, a charming and skilled writing style, and distinct and memorable characters. The storyline is simple, but by no means boring, and the richness of de Lint's words and Vess's drawings pair together perfectly to create an immersive experience. I will be seeking out much more work by each of them in the future, and I can certainly see myself returning to this duology i ...more
I like big families, because they're really fun to talk to and play with. My family is boring, because there are only four kids in it. Too bad the author didn't really make them talk to each other that much, and just said what they liked to do. Their family sounded really interesting, I hope someday he writes a book about what they really act like. He doesn't even have to bother with the magic part if he wants, even though I like that part too. But I'm really interested about what their family d ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014reviews
Seven Wild Sisters is a charming fantasy novel set in the modern world. The novel begins by focusing on the middle daughter, Sarah Jane, but by the end of the novel, all seven sisters have played a role in this delightful fairy fantasy adventure. The story begins, well, one could choose a dozen different "real" beginnings for this one, so I'll merely say the STORY FOR SARAH JANE begins when she befriends "Aunt Lillian." Aunt Lillian lives alone, secluded, near the woods. No electricity, no runni ...more
Feb 03, 2014 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I was going through my personal wish list on Amazon (versus the library list that I keep on there), and thought that I should see if the library had it or not. Hey, they did. (Obviously) It's CdL, so I knew I'd enjoy it. I've read nearly all of his books (and own about three-quarters of them) It's relatively short, just under 150 pages, which include a few with art from Charles Vess, and while the story could easily be fleshed out to be a full-length novel, it fits perfectly with its length. It' ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Betsy rated it it was amazing
With the beauty of its storytelling, art, characters, and setting, it truly is a hard place to leave.
Sarah Jane Dillard has become increasingly close to Aunt Lillian, the elderly neighbor woman who teaches her about the land and how to use its bounty for good. But when she rescues a wounded fairy while out digging for ginseng, she finds herself in the middle of a conflict between two different groups of fairies. Her six other sisters end up becoming pawns in the game too, and she and Aunt Lillian find help in the Apple Tree Man who devises a way to trick the fairy queen and bring all the humans ...more
Tasha Robinson
Dec 06, 2015 Tasha Robinson rated it liked it
Sweet, simple, and with beautiful Charles Vess illustrations. The last act felt pretty rushed, as though this was planned as a longer book, and I could have used more of an idea of why L'il Pater helped the characters, and what he got out of it in a world that seemed to be otherwise pretty self-absorbed. (And he's a cat. Cats aren't exactly known for their altruistic nature.) This feels a bit like the opening chapters to a longer DeLint novel, but it's enjoyable for what it is.
I’ve been a fan of Charles De Lint’s books for quite a while, mostly his amazing urban fantasies like The Painted Boy and Spirits in the Wires. I’ve never really read any of his children’s books, so Seven Wild Sisters was a fun new experience for me. While it is definitely a good read for kids (mostly leaving out stuff like sex and language), it carries through with all the best things that make me love De Lint’s writing: a vivid world, interesting and unusual characters, folk music, animals. An ...more
Steph Myers
Apr 25, 2014 Steph Myers rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, kids
The images were what caught my attention and had me checking out this book. Unfortunately, despite sweet graphics that are very retro, the story fell flat. It felt like a whole lot of detail was left out. I'm guessing the book was targeted to 5th graders (ish) and that it has been awhile since the author was around young readers. Could have been a great story, but there was no world-building which is kind of crucial for fantasy fiction.
Kirk Macleod
Sep 06, 2016 Kirk Macleod rated it it was amazing
So this month, the book I read had one of my favourite authors (Charles de Lint) team up with one of my favourite illustrators (Charles Vess), for a modern fairytale called Seven Wild Sisters.

The novel follows seven sisters and their dog, who begin a day with chores and end with a war between fairies, including a creature called The Apple Tree Man and features challenges, music, and adventure. The book was simply a delight start to finish.

I'd first come across Charles Vess (who you can see more
May 03, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
When Sarah Jane befriends the old woman who lives up the mountain, “Aunt” Lillian tells her stories about the fairy folk. But when Sarah Jane saves an injured “sangman” she gets involved in a fairy battle. Now, her 5 sisters are at the mercy of the Fairy Queen and her soldiers. Maybe they were not stories after all!

Beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess, this modern fairy tale (including references to cell phones) was slow getting the story started, and the various points of view, although cle
Mar 07, 2014 Fplys rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Beautiful drawings,and details describing the meadow and the other realm creatures. Sara Jane is the main character who one day wanders to the end of the path and comes to be friends with the old woman who everyone thought was a witch. Turns out she is something else and has friends from the other realm. Sara Jane spends time with Aunt Lily discovering what it is like to live off the land with no electricity and grow your own food. One day in the deep woods Sara Jane finds a man of roots and lea ...more
Lola Snyder
Presented as a modern fairy tale Seven Wild Sisters, while definitely more modern than the medeival timing of most fairy tales, still felt a bit old with a few modern mentions thrown in. That said, I loved it. The story does focus on the middle sister but includes the others and develops their personalities just enough to fit the story and to demonstrate how their family cares for and loves each other. I appreciated the lesson of living a simpler life and appreciating things more when they are w ...more
I was so excited to find a middle-grade novel by one of my favorite adult authors. What a fantastic way to introduce preteen readers to the world of Charles de Lint and Newford! Unfortunately this fell short of expectations. While a master of interwoven stories and multiple perspectives for older readers, these characters were too similar. (I hate having to try to remember at the beginning of each chapter if these names belong to the musician twins, the younger trickster twins, or those other tw ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very fun, very quick read about sisters and their visit to fairy land. I loved the voice, the characters, and really just about everything.
Annie Oosterwyk
Oct 22, 2014 Annie Oosterwyk rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was compelled to read this book, being a staunch 6th member of the Oosterchicks. The book had very nice color illustrations by Charles Vess and the story was like magic Appalachia. All the sisters have this wild, red hair and there are two sets of twins. They are close to each other, but individuals at the same time.
They live life right at the edge of the world of fairy and then, Sarah Jane does a " 'sangman" a good turn and they are sucked into the world of fairy and a generations old war.
Luciana Darce
Jun 02, 2016 Luciana Darce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A primeira vez que descobri Charles de Lint foi numa antologia de contos em que vários autores escreviam suas versões de contos de fadas. A forma como ele trabalhou a história dele me chamou tanta a atenção que fui atrás de mais, e assim foi que coloquei as mãos em The Very Best of Charles de Lint… e caí completamente de amores pelo estilo do cara.

Por esses dias, encontrei Seven Wild Sisters - uma das obras infanto-juvenis do autor - em promoção na Amazon, numa edição toda ilustrada pelo Charles
Less a full-out fantasy story and more a story of the relationships between the characters.

The story mainly focuses on one sister, Sarah Jane, and her friendship with the simple-living Aunt Lillian. (Lillian is an "aunt" in the sense of everyone in town calls her that; no relation, but close friend.) Lillian has shared some of her stories of the fairy people who live in the woods and hills that surround Lillian's property. One day Sarah Jane encounters one of these fairy people who have been sh
Sarah Jane is the middle child of seven red-haired sisters. She has become friends with Aunt Lillian who lives in the mountains above her family's farm. Aunt Lillian tells Sarah Jane stories about the Apple Tree Man and the King of the Cats and the fairies. Sarah Jane is drawn to Aunt Lillian's simpler way of life. One day when she is collecting 'sang (ginseng) she discovers a sangman badly injured. Not wanting to get involved in a fairy conflict but not wanting to let the little man die. She br ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Blue rated it it was ok
Shelves: decent
This was pretty disappointing.

It was a really good idea, because there are never good books about big families. I would love to read a book that really takes advantage of sibling characters and shows how they interact with each other. There are so many possibilities because they can have inside jokes, personal systems and wars, etc.
Families are actually one the most interesting things to write about, because they're like mini kingdoms with their own laws and wars and fads and tragedies. And it
Rugg Ruggedo
Aug 10, 2014 Rugg Ruggedo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is both a more filled out version of a story told in 2002 by these two masters of modern fairy tales, and a sequel or companion to The Cats of Tanglewood Forest. I read the first version and there is so much more here, and more illustrations to make it worth both the time and money to find this version and read it again.
The family we grow up with and the family we choose. Interesting comparisons of how we love and the responsibilities that come with giving that emotion. Sarah Jane loved the
I love the idea that fairy tales can still take place in a more modern world. And that is what this story proves. Sarah Jane is the middle of seven sisters–all of which have wild red hair. She and her sisters live with their mother down the street from Aunt Lillian. Aunt Lillian lives by herself and loves the idea of living and working her land in her own way. Meaning she doesn’t have electricity or things like that. She grows a garden and works the land in order to live, and she likes it. When ...more
Seven Wild Sisters takes place many years after The Cats of Tanglewood Forest and follows Sarah Jane, the middle of seven sisters. On a dare, Sarah Jane meets Aunt Lillian, an old woman who lives down the road from their own home, and who lives her life doing things without electricity or plumbing. The draw to the old woman, her stories, and her way of life keeps Sarah Jane coming back often and soon she's spending most of her spare time with her.

Aunt Lillian makes her money by selling 'sang - g
Shelton TRL
Oct 01, 2012 Shelton TRL rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Character-driven. Atmospheric; Suspenseful; Upbeat. Good for Adults or YA.

Urban fantasy tale set in the Canadian countryside. A family of seven red-haired sisters move with their mom to the country and there are drawn into the very real world of the fae. With sides seizing sisters as hostages, one sister is left to find a solution to an old fairy war without sacrificing any of her sisters. Highly enjoyable modern fairytale, complete with the danger of the fae from classic folklore.

Recommended fo
Feb 17, 2013 Jaimie rated it it was amazing
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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Newford (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)
  • Memory and Dream (Newford, #2)
  • The Ivory and the Horn (Newford, #3)
  • Trader (Newford, #4)
  • Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5)
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • Forests of the Heart (Newford, #7)
  • The Onion Girl (Newford, #8)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Spirits in the Wires (Newford, #10)

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