The story’s central character is Bettina, a half-Mexican half-Native American woman who is a curandera, or healer. Bettina’s magic tells her to move from the desert that is her home to Newford.
In de Lint’s world, every place has its own spirits. Bettina and other characters discover that some Celtic place-spirits emigrated with the Irish to the new world. Known as the Gentry, they were content to rule the city while the spirits around Newford ruled the country. However, when an ancient legend proves to be true, the Gentry plot to kill the native spirits and claim the land as their own. Obviously, this must be stopped.
I had thought Muse and Reverie had a lot of artists and musicians. I was wrong, as Forests of the Heart features far more. However, de Lint does a better job of contextualizing them in this book to the point that one almost can forget that there are so many of them.
Overall, this book was spectacular and was full of memorable characters. My favorite were the cadejos, spirits which appear as rainbow dogs with hooves (they look sort of like pinatas) that are prone to dancing and revelry. Excellent job, Charles de Lint.