Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint: Book Review

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Dreams Underfoot

5 Stars

“Every time it rains a ghost comes walking.”

Dreams Underfoot introduced readers to de Lint’s fictional city of Newford. Magic is on the streets of Newford if you just know where to look for it. It’s usually in the most unexpected places.

Man, I love the Newford books. This book started my re-read of them all in order. They aren’t really a series, so I’ve skipped around, reading them as I find them, but I’m curious to see my favorite characters grow in a more natural progression.

I really don’t remember what order I read these in initially, but this was definitely one of the first. There are some true gems in here.

I’m going to pull most of this review straight from my GoodReads status updates.

Uncle Dobbin’s Parrot Fair–“Jilly, Christy, Professor Dapple, Goon, and even a crow (not a Crow Girl, mind you, but a crow nevertheless)–I don’t love this first story but de Lint laid one hell of a foundation for Newford here.”

The Stone Drum–“Liked Stone Drum, although it reminded me how curious I am about the Kelledys. I wonder if there is a book about them that I haven’t read yet? Would be nice to know their backstory in full. And Goon’s a skookin. I’ve been thinking of him as a goblin because I couldn’t remember the right name.”

Timeskip–“Starting Timeskip! I remember it as my favorite of de Lint’s stories. I hope it holds up. With an opening sentence of “Every time it rains a ghost comes walking,” it is off to the perfect start….Such a perfect, bittersweet story. So important to “Geordie, me lad”‘s story arc. Love. It.”

Freewheeling is too sad for me. I probably shouldn’t see it that way but I do.”

That Explains Poland–“A fun yet thoughtful story. It is better to keep the magic of some experiences to yourself.”

Romano Drum–The Romany story was nothing new.”

The Sacred Fire was super-creepy! I’m regretting reading it before bed! It is interesting how the idea behind this story fully manifested itself in The Onion Girl.”

Winter Was Hard is another of my favorite stories. I love the gemmin. It’s another bittersweet story, but when I finished, I had to just sit there for a few minutes and enjoy what it made me feel.”

And I stopped my updates there. I’ll do what I can from memory now.

Pity the Monsters–Verrry creepy. These two are definitely a pair of monsters. Yet I did pity one of them at least. The more monstrous one. Makes you wonder who the real monster is.

Ghosts of Wind and Shadow–More of the Kelledys! I really had forgotten how much I like them. The dangers of putting children in convenient “boxes” and refusing to see the magic in the world. More about the magic found in music.

The Conjure Man–I love the idea behind this one. A tree that grows as people share their stories with it.

Small Deaths–I don’t remember this one as well. It’s not a standout by any means. It’s something about the light inside us and how the choices we make can lead to “small deaths.” You know, those choices that we all make that start us down the wrong path.

The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep–Another old favorite! I love Sophie and her alternate reality. This one has a very classic fairy tale feel.

In the House of My Enemy–A difficult story about child abuse. Gives some big insight into the histories of some favorite characters.

But For the Grace Go I–I like Margaret and Tommy and their pack of dogs. A reminder that we can always choose to turn our life around.

Bridges–I don’t like this one much either. It’s a little dark, but ultimately it is about hope.

Our Lady of the Harbor–Basically a modern re-telling of “The Little Mermaid.”

Paperjack–Gives some closure to “Timeskip.” Paperjack himself reminds me of John Coffey from The Green Mile.

Tallulah–Christy’s first real story. No wonder I always think of him as being melancholy. About the way the very nature of a city can change with its people.

This collection is just a fantastic introduction to Newford. It reminded me why I fell in love with these books in the first place.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Charles de Lint on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Buy Dreams Underfoot at

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1 Comment

  1. I haven't heard of these books but they look/sound interesting. Are they fantasy for adult or younger? Thanks for the review.

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