Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier is one author I have come to know and love over the past year. Her writing is always lush and evocative and she never fails to take a story places that I truly never expected it to go. So as I settled into her latest, Heart's Blood, I was delighted to find myself in a suitably misty and atmospheric Celtic retelling of Beauty and the Beast that could only be described as vintage Marillier.

Running from an abusive situation, the young scribe Caitrin doesn't know where she is going, she just knows she has to go now. After traveling for days she stumbles upon the strange village of Whistling Tor whose occupants fill her head with strange tales of their young Lord Anluan - a cripple who never leaves his hilltop castle. But Caitrin is desperate and when Anluan's servant comes to the village looking for a scribe, Caitrin jumps at the chance, even though she is strongly warned against journeying to the crumbling castle with its strange and remote inhabitants. Upon her arrival Caitrin is confronted with a monumental task that will require all her wits and strength and a Lord who is struggling to simply keep his estate intact - and who doesn't exactly even want her around. Slowly, Caitrin and Anluan begin to work together, unearthing chilling family secrets long buried while they quickly discover they must depend on each other in order to turn the tide of misfortune for all of Whistling Tor.

Perhaps what makes Caitrin and Anluan's love story so poetic is how they both truly only want to make the other happy - through whatever means, even if it means letting go. It's not easy or even destiny for these two (more than one large obstacle stands between them and HEA) but they simply work together in a mature and selfless way that just makes them both better people in their own time. ::sigh::

It never fails to surprise me how good Juliet Marillier is at taking a very well known and beloved fairy tale (read: Beauty and the Beast or the Seven Swans) and subtly twisting or manipulating it until the story itself is something totally new and unique. Small and subtle details are left along the way (a magic mirror, a man deformed) to remind the reader that you are still in a particular tale; just not like you've ever heard it. Marillier has such a gift for making every single story her very own, which only makes everything she writes simply a pleasure to read.

**By the way, this is actually the UK cover which I adore as opposed to the US cover which is sorta meh.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
The Book Muncher review
Tempting Persephone review

book source: my local library

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