Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.
I love Juliet Marillier, she has an AMAZING imagination! My all-time favorite book by her is called Daughter of the Forest *sigh* the romance is just...epic... BUT we are talking about Heart's Blood.
With the basis of the Beauty & the Beast story, Marillier weaves her own version of this fairy tale and it's really unique. It’s got everything you want to look for in a good fantasy: a strong, curious heroine, an ancient curse, a compelling love interest and, most of all, the backdrop of your favorite fairytale which in this case is Beauty & the Beast.
Set in mythical Whistling Tor (a cursed settlement set in Ireland during the 12th century) We meet Caitrin, (the main female character) who is forced to leave her home by an aunt and cousin who claim ownership of her home when her father passes away and because she is brutally abused by them; so she runs away with what little she has - a bit of clothing and her scribing equipment (her father, a master scribe, has taught her how to scribe which is unheard of a woman doing). She ends up taking a job for a mysterious lord/chieftain who rules this kingdom/settlement where the woods are claimed to be cursed with "evil unseen" things/creatures. She is hired as the scribe to translate Latin for the unseen (by the people he rules), Anulan - a respected man who suffered a stroke as a young teen which left him slightly disfigured.
The villian was and wasn't obvious to me simply because I thought it might be this person but then again I wasn't sure. There were times when I got the feeling of reading the book, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier there was a feel to it. I loved the idea of the mirrors and what they did.
Overall there were many interesting aspects to the story. The setting was well-done, and I found many of the secondary characters to be very intriguing!
Sexual Content: moderate (PG-13 talks about the arousal of some men, 2 not-too-descriptive love scenes and some references to rape)
Violence: moderate (PG-13 due to abuse issues and torture)
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