Seven Wild Sisters

“Course there’s spirits in the hills. How could there not be?” muses Aunt Lillian…

Seven Wild Sisters is a novella by Charles de Lint and illustrated by Charles Vess. I stumbled across it in the library and snatched it up immediately because the two Charles are a favorite combination of mine! How could I go wrong reading a book by de Lint with illustrations by Vess? I was not disappointed!

In this book, we are introduced to the 7 red-haired Dillard sisters who live in the backcountry hills of Appalachia. One of the sisters, Sarah Jane, befriends an older neighbor, Aunt Lillian, whom her sisters think is a witch. She spends a lot of time helping her, learning about homesteading, and listening to her stories. She discovers that she is not a witch, but IS connected to the world of faerie in an interesting way. But because of an act of kindness by Sarah Jane, the sisters all get caught between two warring groups of fairies. It was fun to find out how they all managed to survive their encounters with the fairy folk and get back home from that “other world.”

Charles de Lint has used these characters in some of his other books and stories. Another collaboration between de Lint and Vess is a book called Medicine Road, which includes two of the seven sisters and weaves North American Indian mythology into the magical mix.

From The Green Man Review:
Seven Wild Sisters advertises itself as a modern fairy tale. Including the seven sisters, it certainly has all the trappings: an old woman who may be a witch, an enchanted forest, a stolen princess. But Sisters is not just borrowing the clothes of the fairy tale. It sings with the true voice of fairy tale: capricious, wild, and not entirely safe, but rich and enchanting. 

8 thoughts on “Seven Wild Sisters

  1. Bellezza

    I keep hearing of Charles de Lint, from Carl V, to Chris, to you. I’m aghast that I haven’t read any works of his yet. It’s time to remedy that, apparently!


  2. Chris

    The 2 Charles’ are a favorite combo of mine too 🙂 I haven’t heard of this one, but I’m excited to have heard of it now! I do however have a copy of Medicine Road sitting on my shelf! I scooped it up from Subterranean Press when they were having a sale and it’s signed by both Vess and de Lint…I got it for like $18 and it’s a limited/numbered edition…can’t beat that!


  3. Nymeth

    I want to read both this and A Circle of Cats so much. There was a story about Lily in Waifs and Strays and it was my favourite of the whole collection. She’s such a great character. It seems that both books are out of print, though, I can only find used copies that are much too pricey for me 😦 Ah well, maybe they will reprint them. And yes, it would be hard to go wrong with Charles de Lint and Charles Vess!


  4. Robin

    Yes, it’s time to remedy that, Bellezza. I’ve only read two books by him so far, and I’ve really liked both of them. I’m looking forward to reading many more of his works!

    Chris, how cool!…you definitely can’t beat that! It seems that a lot of his stuff is out of print, so I keep my eyes open at the library. That’s how I found this fun little book.

    Nymeth, I haven’t found Circle of Cats yet, but will grab it when I find it. It’s so fun that he weaves some of these characters into other books and stories.


  5. Rhinoa

    I want to read this book so badly, but it seems pretty difficult to track down a copy apart from libraries. I will continue to search as it sounds lovely. Thanks for the review.


  6. Robin

    Rhinoa, I really enjoyed it. I’m glad my library had it on the shelf … I’m searching for A Circle of Cats now, too. Anyway, see the comment from “Anonymous!” about The Green Man Review!

    Carl, me too!!

    Anonymous, thanks for the information and the link!



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