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Forests of the Heart

(Newford #7)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,853 ratings  ·  167 reviews
In the old century, they called them the Gentry: ancient spirits of the land, magical, amoral, and dangerous. When the Irish emigrated to North America, some of the Gentry followed...only to find that the New World already had spirits of its own, called manitou and other such names by the Native tribes.

Now generations have passed, and the Irish have made homes in the new l
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 11th 2001 by Tor Books (first published June 2000)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  3,853 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
My third Newford book and probably not my last. I have not been reading them in order, but that's OK, as they can be enjoyed independently. I'm trading being more or less clueless about some of the recurring characters in order to focus on the ones particular to each novel as a stand-alone. Forests of the Heart refers to the notion of Home, the place, geographical as much as spiritual that defines and nourishes us, gives us strength and a feeling of continuity, of belonging to a history
What happens when people come over and take over? Well, we all know the answer to that question. But what happens to beliefs, to gods, to spirits? Charles de Lint answers that question in Forests of the Heart which deals with a conflict of spirits, both in the magical sense and the sense of self, in the town of Newford. It isn’t so much a question of good and evil, but more of a question what is the best thing to do, how does one make peace, what costs should be paid.
The story takes place over
Mar 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thefantastic
I am a fan of Charles de Lint's short fiction, and in my opinion that is what he should stick to. He is clearly more adept at that form and length than he is at stretching a story to be novel-length. He skimped too much on details that I felt needed more clarification and breadth while overly emphasizing and rehashing other elements that I understood the first time around. The relationships between the characters and some of the characters themselves weren't terribly believable and seemed contri ...more
Wing Kee
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Takes a turn I did not expect.

World: I love the world this time around, this is the first book by De Lint that I have read that covers Latin American, more so Mexican beliefs, myths and lore and I find it fascinating. There are not huge info dumps here but rather storytellers who tell you their tale and that's been a staple of a De Lint book for a while. The pieces of myths we touch on from the First Nations, Irish to Mexican is really fascinating when it crash together and interact, it's mesmer
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Probably on my top 3 books list. Its the only book I've ever re-read. It mixes different folklore all together making each side fit together and be equally as likely in the realm of fantasy. loved it loved it loved it ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know the kind of book where, even though you should be a responsible adult and put it down and go to sleep you cannot? And you stay up WAY too late just to see what happens? This book is THAT kind of book.

I popped into the Newford series with this book having not read any of the other ones in the series before it, but I didn't find it disjointed. DeLint's writing is so good you can just immerse yourself in the world he's created and get to know the characters without needing any other back
Lorina Stephens
Mar 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Charles de Lint is a master of urban fantasy. Combine that with his remarkable skill as a storyteller, his love of music, Celtic and Native legend and you have a tale that is enchanting, captivating, restorative.

Forests of the Heart returns to de Lint's imaginary town of Newford, and draws heavily from native desert culture pitted against uprooted Celtic culture, all of it existing on an alternate plane that truly is just one step to the left. The Gentry, portrayed as angry, black-clad, cigaret
PJ Who Once Was Peejay
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think this is one of my all time favorites of his books--Newford meets Southwestern myth, and some really satisfying characters and plotting.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of novel for which Charles de Lint is famous, and I really enjoyed it. He masterfully draws together the mythologies of the Irish and Native Americans to create a complex tale that's sensitive to so many differing perspectives. I especially loved how the title “Forests of the Heart” took on multiple meanings as the story progressed (well, actually, it didn’t come together as a phrase/metaphor until nearer the end, but then it was clear how much of the story really had followed t ...more
D.G. Laderoute
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've long been a fan of Charles de Lint, ever since I first read Moon Heart in a bush camp back in the early 80s. He's a master of urban fantasy, much of it based around his imaginary city of Newford. Forests of the Heart takes us back there, this time in a story that crosses Celtic, Canadian Aboriginal and New World Spanish/SW American Native folklore.

As usual, Charles gives us a great read. Forests is well-paced, with well-drawn, interesting characters (but...and there is a but, as I'll get to
I am writing this review of de Lint's novel before I go and read the reviews I have written before. I love the world that de Lint has created; I feel like I have come home when one of his recurring characters appears in a new book; I just settle into his books like I belong there. The real question is why haven't I read all of them. Part of the reason is that I need to be in the right place in my mind and I also just want the time to enjoy them. I believe this is why I read them on vacation.

Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Book #5 I've read from Charles de Lint. I wouldn't recommend this one. It felt very self-indulgent in the world-building details of Newford. Yes, I understand that he wants us to see this as a fully fleshed out, real town with many fascinating characters with the depth and complexity of real people. But do we need SO many characters in a book? Do we need to know the musical tastes of almost all of them? The book was so off-center. Starting it, I was hoping it would focus on Bettina and her deser ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
DeLint, as always, has a triumphant story. Possibly my personal favorite DeLint novel simply because he weaves Native American people's myth with the myth of the Celts. He, at once, shows the differences in the myth and mysteries of the Native Peoples of the America's, (both Mexico and Southern U.S. which were at one point one in the same), and he shows us the beauty inherent in both along with its potential for malice. It is not lost that these are both human characteristics which each person a ...more
Decent mythological crossover between European Faerie, Native American Manitou and Mexican Brujeria. The Fae in this book are less traditional than in many of de Lint’s previous stories – focusing mostly on the Gentry, a group of displaced Irish Fae who’s attitudes make the IRA Provos seem easygoing and forgiving, and the Greenman. As usual, much of the story centers around the Newford arts and music community. 3.5 stars.
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The first book I ever read by Charles de Lint. I absolutely fell in love with this author after reading this book. I'm always hunting for his books to collect and have read as many as I can find. I don't like to borrow his books. If I can't buy them, I wait until I can find them because they are worthy of being added to my literature collection. I hope he writes for a very long time to come. ...more
Traci Loudin
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
An AMAZING blend of various mythologies from various cultures. Truly unique and creative.
Matthew Rettino
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Does magic exist in the contemporary world? Charles de Lint’s mythic fiction brings supernatural beings into the context of the everyday and Forests of the Heart explores the contact between ordinary people and what he calls Mystery.

Bettina and Adelita are sisters, both partly Mexican, partly Indios, and raised by their grandmother to see la époco del mito, the time of myth. However, as they grow older, Adelita puts the childish stories away, while Bettina becomes trained by her grandmother to b
Nandakishore Mridula
It is not a good idea to enter a fantasy series in the middle. I rarely do it, but it happened with this one. There was really no problem, as the novel is standalone; but I got a little lost in Newford, Charles de Lint's imaginary Canadian town, where the human and spirit worlds intermingle seamlessly. There was a lot of that world to absorb before I could get into the tale proper.

The premise of the story is simple. There are certain spirits called "The Gentry" who have come over from Ireland on
Eric McLaughlin
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Might be the best new read I've had this year. 5 stars all the way. The surface story was really intriguing.
Poised as a battle for territory between Genii Loci, the native spirits of the land, vs the Gentry, displaced spirits who followed the Irish to American during the potato famine. This story takes place in Newford in a particularly brutal winter. The Gentry are hard men, angry and violent and looking to ressurect the Green Man to help them fight the local spirits so they can take over the l
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Maybe I was in a weird mood when I picked up this book, but I don't remember the last time I was this excited to read a book. I had never heard of Charles de Lint before so everything about this book was a surprise. The cover looked cool and the description sounded interesting and I've always enjoyed urban fantasy along the vein of the Nightwatch series. Anyway, the story and the magic were such a welcome surprise. The combination of Native American, Irish, and Central American folklore was some ...more
For people who are super into De Lint's stuff: This is one of his better, more grounded, full realized works. It didn't have such an intangible quality to it, mostly because the artsy leads that normally populate Newford were balanced out by characters who were less so. (Tommy, Hunter, Lobo)

For people who don't really know De Lint's stuff: This is a good one to pick up. While there are a few mentions of Jilly (a character that crosses over into plenty of De Lint's stuff), it is mostly a standalo
Glam Hobbit
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gonna be real with you all, I definitely chose this book based on the cover and genre alone. I love fantasy, and the idea that it's a story not completely divorced from modern life was engaging. It proved to be a fantastic read, like a literary version of the TV show "Supernatural" but with less violence and more of an emphasis on the natural world. Told from multiple perspectives, the, at times, slow build to dramatic tension, seems like a nod to the other books written in this creative univers ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like urban fantasy, so from the start I knew I would like this book. There's a curandera of unusual and powerful heritage, a sculptor with inborn power, a record store owner, a guy who drives a homeless outreach van, a brother and sister, magical beings of European descent looking to make their home permanent, magical beings who have been here a long time, a whole host of supporting characters. In a clash for power between old spirits and the new the people pulled in have to try and give some ...more
Jim Leckband
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A smorgasbord of cultural magical traditions in this one - we've got two Native American (Southwest and Prairie), Irish/Gaelic, and English/Saxon traditions all mixed up in an ice storm in Newford. Which is the point as the novel concerns what happens when magic that is rooted to a certain place and people is uprooted. De Lint was mashing up before mashing up was a thing. The only thing missing is the Scandinavian trolls! C'mon! ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
The storyline of hidden magic within indigenous people has been overused. This version offers nothing new.

The first 50 pages hits all the same landmarks: old mystic relative, children discovering new supernatural world, disbelieving family. Is there a standard checklist that is issued for these type of novels? If you’re going to tread this overworked ground, then at least have a writing style to lift the material. Just doesn’t happen here.
This is my second Newford novel. I didn't like it as much as The Blue Girl - this seemed to take a lot longer to really get into the plot, and had maybe one or two extra narrators that weren't really needed (Hunter, maybe Miki). The mix of folklore from Irish and Mexican cultures was really interesting though, and a lot of the characters were really great and memorable (Bettina, the Creek sisters, Ellie, the good wolf guy, Nuala). Full of imagination, great writing and dialogue. ...more
Jewell Moreno
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charles DeLint is one of my favorite fantasy authors. This one mixed Irish, Hispanic, and Native American beliefs in the mystical to tell a story set in the town of Newford. This is a town where the real world and the mystical world meet. I really liked this story. Loved the characters, and found the story both tragic and beautiful. Such a great writer, and one of his best stories to date.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but I don't think it's something I'll come back to. I've really been enjoying fiction that brushes up against mythology lately but for me, this book was lacking in philosophical depth and felt a bit "fluffy". It felt a bit more like entertainment than anything deep. I probably sound horribly pretentious here! ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn’t realize this was #7 in a series until I was already hooked into the story. I don’t think it affected my understanding. It was a neat mixture of folktales from Irish, Native American & Mexican heritages. Very enjoyable read.
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got this book years ago when I was in college, and absolutely love it. I've reread it many times over the years. To me this is such an underrated book. It has the same feeling as American Gods, and since that's so popular, you'd think more people would know about this book. ...more
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Forests of the Heart Discussion 2 15 Sep 17, 2013 03:25AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Newford (1 - 10 of 21 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)
  • The Onion Girl (Newford, #8)
  • Tapping the Dream Tree (Newford, #9)
  • Spirits in the Wires (Newford, #10)
  • Widdershins (Newford #11)

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