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(Ottawa and the Valley)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,028 ratings  ·  365 reviews
When Sara and Jamie discovered the seemingly ordinary artifacts, they sensed the pull of a dim and distant place. A world of mists and forests, of ancient magics, mythical beings, ageless bards...and restless evil.

Now, with their friends and enemies alike--Blue, the biker; Keiran, the folk musician; the Inspector from the RCMP; and the mysterious Tom Hengyr--Sara and Jamie
Paperback, 447 pages
Published February 15th 1994 by Orb Books (first published October 1984)
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Rosie Mo I have read it about 3 times and loved it more each time........ would have loved a sequel but it wasnt to be.

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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,028 ratings  ·  365 reviews

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Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This gets the Poul Anderson award: An imperfect delivery of a great idea.

The characterization is flat, dialogue sometimes made me cringe it was so formulaic, the plot is a little on the cliché side and it could have been about a hundred pages shorter but what he says far outshines how he says it.

Whether you call this magical realism or mythic fantasy or urban fantasy or a mix up of all of the above, this is very entertaining fantasy writing. Having been first published in 1984 I cannot help wond
5.0 stars. Fresh, original urban fantasy with deep, rich settings, well drawn characters and a terrific multi-layered plot. De Lint's use of the Celtic and North American Indian mythologies as the foundation of the story made it all the more enjoyable as they are not often portrayed in fantasy. There are so many memorable characters that it is hard to pinpoint any one that stands out above the rest, but characters like Pukwudji and Tamson House itself showed De Lint's incredible talent for creat ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020

It was here, when the world outside lost all its secrets and seemed to unfold around her, flat and unending, every surprise and wonder ironed out of it, here in the maze of rooms that she could find mystery again and rejuvenate her own sense of wonder.

Tamson House - a sprawling manor in the old part of Ottawa, home to siblings Sara and Jamie and to their oddball collection of guests – is reminding me of “Little, Big” by John Crowley. Tamson House is large and weird and apparently can open door
Oct 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
a really, really difficult read. it might work for a young teenager.

this was one of many books by the author that hit the user-selected top 100 books of the 20th century put out by some publishing group, i forget who. at the time i was making an effort to go through and read the top 100 picks from both the academics and the popular list. this book was the highest rated by this author. if this is his best book, i would never dare open another.

poor characterizations, uncompelling plot, lack of dra
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Moonheart is quite aways beyond my usual range, chosen out of (GR/Amazon) recommendations based on recommendations thrice removed from books I've actually read. So, although I realize based on other reviews that this is considered "classic urban fiction", for me, it was quite bizarre and different (a good thing).

Moonheart has its flaws, and it probably won't appeal to many, but I give it a 4 for the intersection of (1) weird/made me think (2) well-written, if not "literary" (3) Native American/
May 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With a title like Moonheart and a description that includes the phrase "fey folk beyond the shadows of the moon" you are fairly warned that this is fantasy of the uber-nerdy species. Nonetheless, this book is good fun. The characters are well-developed and the Otherworld that they enter is very romantic and captivating. What develops as the plot is good versus evil with the simple twist that the good characters are normal people like us that have no idea what they are doing and must learn how t ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Sara and her uncle Jamie live in Tamson House, the old family mansion that takes up a street block in Ottawa. While Sara runs their cluttered curiosity shop, Jamie spends his days studying the arcane and playing host to the eccentrics and homeless people who come and go through Tamson House. Sara and Jamie’s interests collide when Sara discovers an old gold ring that seems to draw her into an ancient past — a past where Welsh and Native American mythology
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm completely dithering around how to rate this book. Charles de Lint has the wonderful ability to simultaneously bring the fantastical down to earth, and make the mundane utterly magical. And yet, sometimes, that ability doesn't quite translate into a coherent plot - does that matter?

I can't tell. Maybe this was really only a three star book, filled with a few too many characters and storylines and sudden endings and twists that don't quite make sense - not to mention the not one but two case
Beth Cato
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
This classic fantasy novel is highly enjoyable and very tense, though not flawless. It's a book with an incredible magical house (the best part of the whole book), Ottawa Mounties who investigate the paranormal, and melded Celtic and First Nations mythology. It feels like a huge, deep fantasy, and is original in so many ways.

Yet uneven in others. The shifting point of view really jolted me at the start and I never fully adjusted to the technique. There is a huge cast of characters, and I struggl
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a very early Charles de Lint book, about a modern-day magic house, a druid, a Celtic bard, Native Americans, elves, wizards, um, am I forgetting anything? :) It's fun, imaginative, and exciting, and its only real flaw is that the characters are more like caricatures. The Native Americans are humorless native warriors who live in teepees but have a strong tradition of association with the spirits, the Celtic bard talks like, well, a Celtic bard from legend, etc.. And, like his other early ...more
Kevin Bergin
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Moonheart was a truly satisfying read for me. I fell in love with Tamson House, its magic.

This is the first book I have read by Charles de Lint and I will go looking for more.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
I need a 'I can feel the soil falling over my head' shelf. Or maybe a 'bored before I even began' shelf.
Oct 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
For years I have heard great things about Moonheart. So much hype centers around this as a defining work in the career of Charles de Lint. I had read several works by de Lint and liked them all. However, all the hype made it hard for me to get started and this book sat on my shelf for a year.

Then I started reading. The book starts in 'real world' Ottawa with introductions for some of the recurring 'main' characters. This part moved nicely along and set up the blend of mystery, urban fantasy, and
So, I Read This Book Today
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who among you remembers the first book you read? Or, shall we say the first which made a real impression on you? For me, I grew up on a household that didn't read, and didn't really provide books for a budding bibliophile. So, I did what I could, mostly snitching school books to read from my older cousins. The first I really remember? Being six years old and sneaking my cousin's high school mythology books from her room. The ideas there absolutely fascinated me. Gods and monsters. Far distant la ...more
Jun 12, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: unfinished
I think if I'd tried reading this book in the late nineties, I would have actually made it all the way through. Maybe even liked it. In the nineties, the New Age flavor of this fantasy world would have been less jarring, because Native American appropriation and Celtic mysticism were in style. Also, in the nineties, I was a teenager. I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with the way the main characters were all so quirky they could barely function in the "real world" and how they're portrayed as ...more
David Seruyange
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Moonheart captured my attention as one of the pioneering novels of the so called "Urban Fantasy" genre. It succeeded the most when the author was exploring the overlapping myths of humans. It was also a pleasure to get a sense of place from this book, which was written with an early 1980s Ottawa as its center.

Some readers will appreciate some of the overlap from traditional fantasy to detective novel, complete with police reports, inspectors, and the stereotypical hard nosed cop. While it added
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ylto-chunkster
I just reread this fantasy classic for the first time in twenty years. I had forgotten how much I liked it. Sarah Tams lives with her uncle, Jesse Tams, at a large and mysterious house that occupies an entire city block in Ottawa. Sarah also runs an "antiquarian" store, where they sell all sorts of odd objects. Going through storage boxes in the back room, Sarah finds some odd but intriguing items, including what appears to be a ball of clay but turns out to have a golden ring hidden inside. Fro ...more
Kara Babcock
I’m Canadian and a lover of fantasy but have somehow managed not to read any books by Charles de Lint, ever. I’m not sure if this represents great skill or just gobsmacking stupidity on my part. It’s probably some mixture of the two. My roommate lent me Moonheart, promising I would love it in tones that made me hope I would, lest awkward differences of critical opinion ensue. Fortunately, I do love this book. De Lint does an amazing job combining Celtic mythology and contemporary Canada to creat ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I know that deLint is classic, and that everyone should like it because of that, but I didn't like this. Yes, it is going to be different from newer urban fantasy, but it wasn't the slow pace that bothers me. I mean, I have read epic fantasy that progresses at a snails pace. It was more the overall feel of the novel. It just felt like it was from a different time, and that I would have had to be alive then to appreciate it. The style just really didn't sit well with me, and of course the plot, c ...more
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My first brush with Charles de Lindt, when I was 16. The first time I fell in love with a character in a book! (This was before I met Heathcliffe, but Blue, the biker shaman in Moonheart, knocks the socks even off him!) I love the way that de Lindt moves his stories effortlessly between the *real* world and the *other* worlds that he writes about. If anyone has been there, along with Brian Froud, it's him. He's not as well known in the UK as he is in the US, which is a shame. Should be shelved a ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book has many elements I like - contemporary Canadian content! Ancient Celts! Native Americans! Shapeshifters! Music! But it never adds up to a whole that makes any sense, and none of the characters are particularly attractive, nor do they seem at all real. Even the city of Ottawa feels nothing like the city I know. This is the 3rd de Lint book I've read; at this point I must draw the conclusion that he simply doesn't speak to me.

For a review that perfectly expands on my own sense of the bo
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it

I'm challenging myself this year to read 3 books off of this Readers's Top 100 list:

I'm going for the least sucky looking ones that I haven't read, and which aren't 777 pages long. :-) I will choose from the books on this shelf.


Moonheart was okay. That's really all I can say - it was interesting enough that I didn't give up on it, but not nearly compelling enough for me to read more in the series. That's all I'm going to say
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this in college after a friend strongly recommended it. This is easily a world that you can fall into, with believable characters in an unbelievable world. The best way to describe this book is an "urban fantasy," but it's more than that. There are dusty bookshelves, mysterious artifacts, a house that transcends earthly limits, a biker dude named Blue, a computer named Memoria, and Native American rituals. This is a great way to introduce yourself to Charles de Lint.
just finished listening (primarily) to Moonheart. I loved it so much. It is involved and profound and fascinating and nostalgic and enrapturing and was just the perfect thing for me just right now. I cannot believe there's no movie or tv series of this book for me to watch now. What do I read next?! This is one of those books where you feel like nothing else is going to satisfy you that same way for a while.
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book when I first read it (20+ yrs ago?) and the at least 3 times I read it since. It's been at least 5 years, so it looks like it's time again. I never considered it to be urban, didn't even know the term the, so I am very interested to see how I view it through my slightly older eye.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I first read this when I was about 20 or 21. I think I would have given it five stars then. I'd give it about 3 1/2 to 4 now. I've retread it several times. I adore that house. The very notion of it is fantastic.
I cannot finish Moonheart by Charles de Lint. This is too bad because it seems like I should be interested in this weird blend of contemporary (well, at the time) life and fantasy, but I’m not. It’s not the book, it’s me. I just don’t like it.

Sara Kendell is a young woman who lives with her uncle Jamie in a funky old mansion called the Tamson House. She works in an antique shop that her uncle owns and one day while cleaning she finds a leather pouch containing bone disks, a small painting and a
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was recommended to me as the place to start with Charles de Lint. I enjoyed the book overall, although it definitely felt "of a time" for me. I also content that the book had way more characters than were necessary to tell the story - for me that took away from the characters that WERE necessary to tell the story so I felt simultaneously confused and annoyed by the extra characters and shorted on the necessary ones. [An actual moment for me: wait...what is happening with XYZ primary charact ...more
Snarktastic Sonja
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I wrote a very long review for this - Goodreads ate it. Sigh. Now to try to replicate. Or at least sum up.

This book is a product of its times. There is smoking on every page. There is a long drawn out beginning - like the first 55%. There are unpronounceable names. Mix all this up with time travel, and you have a very confusing story. Needlessly so, in my opinion. At the very least, we could make the names memorable and less confusing. But it is hard to keep track of whom is where or when and wh
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles de Lint is one of my favourite authors of contemporary fantasy. He makes me believe in magic and that it could be alive today. I was so excited to find this gem in my local second-hand bookstore.

The combination of ancient lore and modern times works in this book. Written in 1984, except for a couple of references to obsolete technology, it stands the test of time. Sara Kendell finds a medicine bag and a remarkably clear picture of two men in the back of her uncle’s store. She and her un
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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

Ottawa and the Valley (9 books)
  • Yarrow
  • Ascian in Rose
  • Greenmantle
  • Westlin Wind
  • Merlin Dreams In The Mondream Wood
  • Ghostwood
  • Spiritwalk
  • The Road to Lisdoonvarna

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