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Yarrow (Ottawa and the Valley)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  2,289 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Moonheart and Memory and Dream

Cat Midhir had made a reputation as the author of popular fantasy novels. But the secret that her fans didn't know was that her Otherworld was no fantasy. Then, one night, a thief stole her dreams. Since then, she's been trapped in the everyday. And the Others are coming to find her...

Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 15th 1997 by Orb Books (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yarrow was an exceptional book. I probably would have given it 5 stars had I not read "Some place to be Flying" first. That being said I will move on with the review.

Cat Midhir is a writer. A writer who walks between worlds. Cat gets her stories from the Otherworld; Her conversations with Tiddy Mun, Toby Weye, and the storyteller Kothlen are the inspirations for Cat's books and have made Cat one of the best selling authors in Ottawa, Canada. That is until she stops dreaming and can no longer wr
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 3-star
Yet another book I haven't read in probably twenty years, Yarrow is the story of Cat Midhir, a fantasy novelist who, unbeknownst to everyone else, is dependent on her dreams for her writing. Every night she has found herself in another world, where she sits at the feet of the tall fae bard Kothlen as he spins tales, which she on waking weaves into her books. Every night of her life since she was very young she has had what for lack of better language she calls dreams - every night until three mo ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This is the first book I ever read by Charles deLint. I was hooked right off. I liked (and continue to like) his all of his Newford books; I love the gentle blending of wild myth and urban lore. Mid-town primitives and fairies living in the electrical pulses, that sort of thing. It's Urban Fantasy from back when that genre was, literally, fantasy in an urban setting, and not what it has been turned into.

This book spoke to me directly. It's about a socially awkward writer who is a little boho and
Dec 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, 2014
Yet another de Lint book that I'd read pre-Goodreads and mistakenly entered as "to-read" instead of "read." Cat and her dream world is so close to Newford's Sophie and her dream city of Mabon that I'd actually thought what I'd remembered of this book was part of Sophie's story and thus thought I hadn't read this particular one.

The imagery surrounding Mynfel and the horns reminds me very strongly of the imagery in McKillip's Stepping From the Shadows. Since that was published just a few years bef
Deborah Ideiosepius
I read Yarrow long ago so it was almost like reading it new; as ever, Charles de Lint weaves a rich, complex fantasy with people who seem real, in circumstances that are not quite possible, but so easily believable.

It is 1981, or thereabouts, somewhere in Canada. So much has changed since 1981 that it is almost at the point of being historical fiction, our main character writes fantasy novels but her inspiration comes from her dreams and she can no longer dream. She writes them on a typewriter
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Not nearly as good as his later novels, but the story was entertaining. I only had three complaints:

1. Too many characters, some playing such minor roles the story would have been better off without them. The detectives are a prime example.

2. The main character was so helpless and whining. "Whaaaa... I'm lonely... I have writer's block... I'm crazy... I'm not crazy but my life is meaningless... I'm still lonely... I still have writer's block... I miss my dream pals..."

3. Perhaps this was specifi
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback, 1998
Just finished A Game of Thrones, which was such a weighty and quite depressing (but mesmerizing) book that I now need one that will lighten my soul and relieve my mind, so I'm gonna re-read this now.
3.5 stars

Cat is an author and gets her inspiration through dreams. Unfortunately, she has not been dreaming for a few months and is now blocked. What she doesn’t know is that there is… something out there feeding on her dreams! And he’s feeding on others, as well, but Cat’s dreams are the ones he really wants.

This was good. I liked the real world sections of the book more than the dream sections, but that’s not a surprise to me. Cat didn’t really have friends in the real world, so I enjoyed the
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars so I rounded up. This is the first book I've read by De Lint that strayed a bit into thriller territory, and of course, since it's fantasy, the stalking-killer-bad-guy was a kind of dream vampire. Interesting. As a writer myself, I couldn't help but enjoy and appreciate the predicament of our protagonist, Cat, a writer with serious writer's block. Except in her case, the block is because this vampire has been feeding off her dreams, the source of her storie ...more
Amber McCarter
May 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was entertaining enough, but lacking any real depth - even though that is precisely what the story purported to be about. It tells you that deeper things are being revealed and realized, without any actual development of these claims in plot or character. So it was a little disappointing, because it had the bones to be much better, and just... wasn't.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Another masterpiece!
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy C
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Yarrow was my first foray in to the world of Charles de Lint, and it certainly won't be my last. What an amazing mind he has. When I first began reading, numerous characters were introduced, all going about daily things. A page for this one, a page for that one. I wondered who they all were and what their relevance was to the main plot. As I read, I was drawn into each of these people and found myslef amazed how they intertwined together. Some had small roles, and others larger, but what I loved ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Yarrow is one of the better reads from de Lint (in my humble opinion). I can' get over his knowledge of the old Pagan ways and how they are woven in to a modern day setting. The characters are well developed and this particular story has a nice dark edge to it that keeps you a bit more riveted. Combine that with a pace that is a bit better than some of his other novels makes this a great introduction to the fantasy works and a way of sidestepping the a-typical Dungeon & Dragaon fantasy (of s ...more
Lance Greenlee
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
De Lint came quite recommended by those promoting urban fantasy as an alternative to the Tolkienesque, but in truth, this came as quite a disappointment. This story and its characters lack any serious development. In the first eight pages of text, de Lint introduces Caitlin Midhir, Albert Cousins, Peter Baird, Ben Summerfield, Mick Jennings, Becki Bones, Debbie Mitchell, Andy Barnes, Farley O’Dennehy, Stella Sidney, and Rick Kirby. In eight pages, it simply can’t be done with any depth. The read ...more
This was one of my first de Lint books. Going to read again.


Just finished. I want to settle my thoughts before composing my further review. I must say it evoked more now then previously.
Chares de Lint is true storyteller. He mastered the craft of urban myth and legend. With YARROW, he uses a present day North American city where the protagonist, female fantasy author resides. The antagonist is an ageless addict who feeds his addiction with human dreams, spirit and ultimately their soul. S
pretty good read. i was not really into the amount of characters and how they were introduced, but things came together pretty well. i also think this was an earlier book, so that gripe may have been handled in later titles. i will probably find out. i do like the overall theme of mythology (of one sort or another) alive and well. it looks like this is a pattern through his other books. good.
Mary C
Jan 18, 2009 added it
I always enjoy his books and did this one. But this one was a little more scary than most.
N.W. Moors
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cat Midhir is a best-selling fantasy author, but now she's blocked. Her stories come from her dreaming life in the Other World, and now she's no longer dreaming. Someone is stealing her dreams.
Charles de Lint is one of my favorite fantasy authors. This is one of his very early works (I'm pretty sure I've read it before a long time ago). I found it a bit uneven, especially in the beginning where there are a lot of characters to keep track of. About a third into the book the story found it's pace
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
3.5. I liked the idea of this book but the execution fell a little flat. There were way to many characters for a 250 page book. Too much time was spent with minor characters that I didn't feel as much as unwanted to for our main characters. This book could have used about 5 less characters and at least 100 more pages. Overall, I liked the plot. It was a great blend of urban fantasy and horror.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! It was a really interesting concept that I had not come across before. I could relate to the main character Cat and her friends were very likeable. Overall, a really good read!
Rob Roy
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Fantasy and horror meet in this novel, and it is disquiting. I must admit slogging through this book as fantisy is not a perferred genra, and neither is horror. It they are your cup of tea, drink deep and enjoy.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a pretty enjoyable read. I would have loved to learn more about Cat's Otherworld that she dreams about every night.
Corinne Davidson
Love all his books

So good to see these in ebook format, I live abroad and rely on e-books. I love his human ity
Sandy Carmichael
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors; while I liked this story, not one of my favorites, too dark and sexual. To me not quite up to his magical quality.
Christopher Bentley Owen
I picked up Yarrow at a used book store after really enjoying some of Charles de Lint’s short fiction. If I end up reading another of his novels, it will be in the hopes that this is not typical of his long-form work.

The story revolves around fantasy writer Cat Midhir, who travels to a magical realm, Otherworld, in her dreams. Her novels are all adaptations of traditional tales told to her in this realm by the elf bard Kothlen. But lately, she has been unable to dream at all, and has not written
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
If the ratio of plot to street names is any indicator of authorial priority, this book is primarily a guide to place names in Ottawa. I think buried under way, way, way too much information, there actually was a promising plot. Something about a girl who writes her dreams into bestsellers getting trapped in the dreamworld by a psychic vampire who feeds on dreams? Anyway, it barely came up.

In the first 50 pages, almost 200 proper nouns get flung at the reader. (Not exaggerating. I counted.) These
Shonna Froebel
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
This was a used book I grabbed as I like de Lint's fiction and hadn't read this one. Once of his earlier books (1986) it is definitely a simpler book than his more recent The Mystery of Grace. I enjoyed the read and got caught up in its good versus evil storyline, but definitely found it a lighter read.
Cat is an author of fantasy novels who is inspired by her dreams. The stories that she writes are told to her by her dream people, who she has spent time with for years. There is some uncertainty
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this because of the wonderful cover art. This book wasn't exactly bad, but it wasn't especially good, either. I won't go in depth into its problems; other reviews on here bring up good points. But I will say there was very little characterization, and go over a couple other annoyances below. Still, it was reasonably enjoyable, and had moments of emotional authenticity.

This book is dated. Not merely because it takes place in the eighties so there aren't cell phones and internet and all. Th
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This is one of my favorite de Lint books, I read it back in high school and I just really identified with the lead character and so wanted her powers.

Charles de Lint is one of the best at writing urban fantasy, he was in fact my introduction to it, and I love the mix of mysticism, darkness, depth and sheer beauty he brings to his stories and characters.

When I read it I felt that Caitlin and the characters she created were as real as anyone I knew in the real world, and was totally sucked into
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Play Book Tag: Yarrow / Charles de Lint. 3.5 stars 8 24 Jun 09, 2018 11:08AM  
What's the Name o...: Fantasy, A Woman's Dreams Get Stolen [s] 5 44 Nov 29, 2013 05:16AM  
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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

Ottawa and the Valley (9 books)
  • Moonheart
  • Ascian in Rose
  • Greenmantle
  • Westlin Wind
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  • The Road to Lisdoonvarna

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