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.