Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review: Hearts Blood by Juliet Marillier

Challenge 9: Same word, different book.

Challenge Description: Find two books that have the same word in the title. Read both books and write about them. (Worth 2 entries because you have to read two books).

My word is blood - the books I've read are Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier and Blood Royal by Vanora Bennett. Here is the review of the first .....

Title: Heart's Blood
Author: Juliet Marillier
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: MacMillan, 2009

A haunted castle. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who's more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal and redemption........
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftan whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; the woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
And yet the derelict fortress is a safe haven for Caitrin, the troubled young scribe who is fleeing her own demons. Despite Anluan's tempers and the mysterious secrets housed in the dark corridors, this long-feared place provides the refuge she so desperately needs.

As time passes, Caitrin learns there is more to the broken young man and his unusual household than she realised. It may be only through her love and determination that the curse can be lifted and Anluan and his people set free............

I love Juliet Marillier and I wasn't to be disappointed with her latest offering for once again she has taken the threads of myth and fairytale, history and mystery, and woven them into beautiful and magical tale .

Heart's Blood is set in Ireland during the time of the Norman Conquest in the 12th century and has a darker atmosphere than the other books I've read by this author - a Gothic story filled with strange and spooky supernatural forces that surround Whistling Tor and lurk within its walls. Victims of black sorcery, the ghosts are anguished and suffering and like Anluan have given up hope that life can ever be anything different.

The arrival of Caitrin brings hope. When she found the courage to flee her abusive aunt and cousin she took the first step towards understanding that the power for change lies within her own hands. As she battles to overcome her fears a strong and independent young woman begins to emerge who is determined to help and heal the inhabitants of Whistling Tor. The love between her and Anluan develops gently and with a great many misunderstandings - both have wounded hearts and must learn to trust again and to speak the truth of their thoughts and feelings.

There are some wonderfully individual, and suffering,  supporting characters as well and I found myself as much concerned for their welfare as I was for Caitrin and Anluan.
Inspired by the fairytale Beauty and the Beast  those familiar with the true tale will recognise familiar elements such as the garden, the library and the mirrors but with a new and unique twist from the pen of a magical storyteller. It wasn't hard to pick the villian early on and the middle is a tad slow moving but that's not a complaint - the sheer pleasure of reading Juliet Marillier's evocative and captivating prose is enough for me!

Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy and fairytale.

Once Upon a Time IV Challenge.


  1. Great review! Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and I loved this book (although the Sevenwaters series is still my favorite of hers).

  2. I've loved the Marillier novels I've read, so I definitely want to get my hands on this! :)

  3. I do wanna read it, just...Daughter of the Forest was good, but made me cry, the next two was depressing and i just got mad at people in them. Wolfskin and the other was rather depressing too. Perhaps they are not for me

  4. I have a feeling that nothing will ever be as good as Daughter of the Forest ( I cried too, Blodeuedd) but I still loved it.