Fantasy Book Review: Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious, wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of 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.
Sandy Lender says: “For the Bronte fans in the house! (Beware of spoilers in this section of text.) I saw some parallels to Jane Eyre that only a Janeite would catch onto. The orphaned Caitrin ran from her cruel aunt and cousin, not to find an education, but to find a living. Anluan the crippled chieftain was compared to a ruined tree and moped about the fire-damaged estate of his unkind patriarch with as much angst as any Irish Edward Rochester you could hope for. When Anluan found that he loved Caitrin too much, she left in the middle of the night with her original travel dress on her back and the effects she’d brought with her (although she also took the silver he paid her for her scribing work and a magic mirror). She travelled for days until she found herself in the care of strangers, one of whom just happened to be a man of the law (think St. John Rivers) who helped her claim her rightful inheritance. I half expected him to pronounce her “quite an heiress.” The mirror provides the moment of Anluan “calling for” Caitrin, rather than the wind bringing Rochester’s voice to Jane. Of course Caitrin returns to her ruined old tree to rescue him, but I’ll leave the rest of the spoilers under wraps. The story deserves to be read…”