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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 doomFor 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 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

10 thoughts on “Heart's Blood

  1. says:

    It is a well known fact that I adore Beauty and the Beast retellings so it's about damn time I reviewed this It is not only the best retelling I have ever read it is among my top five favorite books of all time I can't even tell you how beautiful fantastic magical this story is It truly has everything It is a long story; don't be afraid of the length It will fly by as you're immersed in it and I for one wish it were longer Also the Beast is a long red haired Irish dude with half his face kinda paralyzed and so in my mind I'm imagining the other half to look like thisHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGI don't have to summarize Beauty and the Beast to you This book is about a lovely girl named Caitrin An orphan I know an orphan It sounds cliché; i assure you it is not It is about pain suffering; mental and physical abuse A girl whose beauty is used to shame and abuse her into submission Ita spoke in my head her voice a derisory whisper See the way men look at you? You’re made to be a whore Caitrin Be thankful Cillian wants to wed youWithout him you’d be headed down a path to ruin There is no explicit violence in this book but rest assured that its ghost is very much alive in our protagonist's mind and defines who she is The bruises on my skin—blue black yellow an angry patchwork—would fade There were other hurts deeper ones that would be harder to lose You did it Caitrin I reminded myself You got up and walked out Her escape is where our book begins We are in a time long ago and far away when the Norman conuests were taking place in Ireland Caitrin is a girl on the run terrified of being found Penniless with only the clothes on her back and the tool she carries with her; she has been well trained by her father as a scribe It is how she hopes to earn a living and escape her would be captorsShe wanders into a strange place called Whistling Tors A place whose nearby villagers regard with fear and superstition A place with a fearful and cursed chieftain whose neglect of his duties and cursed appearance makes him a reviled personage to his people Caitrin hears that he might need a scribe It may be the last place in the world she wants to be but it may also be safe refuge and really she has no choiceThe rumors about Whistling Tors are not false If anything they were grossly underexaggerated The woods is filled with ghostly spectres who haunt your every step “Oh God oh God” someone screamed as behind the rider a swirling mass flowed out from under the trees around the courtyard not mist not smoke but something full of gaping mouths and clutching hands something with a hundred shrieking moaning voices and a hundred creeping pattering feet The Beast is a young chieftain named Anluan who is tortured by his fate something through no fault of his The romance is such a slow burn and it is a joy to watch friendship and love blossom between them Romance is there but I assure you it is subtle and believable “I hardly know what to say” Anluan spoke with some awkwardness as if he thought his words might offend me “Your kinsman was right when he called me a cripple I cannot ride I cannot run I cannot lead an army into battle Not an army made up of earthly warriors of Magnus’s kind anyway But this force I can command On Whistling Tor the host is obedient to my will While you stay here I can keep you safe I hope you will stay Caitrin now that you know the truth We want you here We need you” Love and lust are written beautifullyThere is a great mystery to be solved a mystery that holds the key to freedom for Anluan and his living retainers as well as the spectral ones who are not merely malevolent spirits When Anluan had brought them rushing to my aid they had screamed wailed assaulted the ears Now they were utterly silent Not creatures of ancient legend; not devils or demons All the same my skin prickled as I looked at them here a woman carrying an injured child there an old man with a heavy bag over his shoulder his back bent his limbs shaking; under an oak a younger man whose fingers clutched feverishly onto an amulet strung around his neck There were warriors and priests here little girls and old women The I gazed at them turning to look on all sides the of them appeared until the forest was full of them Ghosts? Spirits? There are no magical wardrobes and candlesticks here There is however a giant ghostly hound a spectral monk creatures from beyond time and dark magic than you can shake a stick at This book has everything and I truly come to love every single character in the book living or deadThe elements of Beauty and the Beast are there; the rose in this case a rare flower called Heart's Blood and the magic mirror in this instance much sinister than the original They are interwoven into the tale so well that it hardly feels like a retelling at all; there is nothing forced about it The characterization and development is amazing and the real world conflicts are interspersed with the magical making this such a spectacular read It is a story of hope This is uite likely the best retelling of all time and I beg you to read itRead reviews at The Alliterates

  2. says:

    Maruis de Sade is a rather famous figure Mostly for a lot of kinky sex acts because all of his sex fantasies included violence criminality and blasphemy That and he really liked buttsecksOkay so history remembers Maruis de Sade for the crazy deviant man that he was But I think we're all forgetting the real point to the story of Maruis de Sade and that is love Love that conuors all Love that supports and love that understands and accepts After all the Maruis de Sade had a very lovely religious wife Renee Pelagie de Montreuil who was always there to organize his orgies hustle is prostitutes bitch slap the hired help who tried to complain of the sexual and physical abuse being wrought out against them and also to break him out of jailAll of this while completely understanding that it was IMPORTANT for him to bone her sister on the sideThat my friends is loveI've heard people complain that there isn't a strong romance in this book and I actually can't understand why I found the romance in this book to be powerful beautiful and touching I truly felt that Anluan and Caitrin were perfect for each other Just like Maruis de Sade and Renee Pelagie de Montreuil were perfect for each otherno I'm just jokin' y'all Caitrin and Anluan made a beautiful coupleThe creepy atmosphere of this story was so well executed the castle and its occupants so seemingly alive that I felt true remorse when the story came to an endThough the mystery was painfully obvious right from the get go I never actually felt the sense that Caitrin was particularly slow on the uptake just that she was a trusting good person with a lot on her mind and a lot of distractionsAs a retake on the Beauty and the Beast tale this one was both beautifully done and very very PCCaitrin is not kidnapped and is not a victim nor is Anluan an actual beast though his short temper and deformity are uite realisticThis is the second book by Juliet Marillier that I have ever read and she's been consistently thoughtful and conscience about her prose her message and her characterization I honestly look forward to reading books by herI also honestly look forward to surpassing her in the 'Most Followed' category for Australia Suck it Marillier I'll get you one day

  3. says:

    I think Juliet Marillier's most successful books are the ones that follow traditional fairy tales the closest Heart's Blood and Daughter of the Forest are the best of hers I've read so farAnd as far as fairy tale retelling goes nobody does it as well as Juliet Marillier does She has that special ability to take a centuries old tale and fill it with interesting new characters historical details original and always very atmospheric setting and voila a great story that doesn't feel like an old tired rip off at allHeart's Blood is a fresh take on Beauty and the Beast and probably the most successful reinvisioning of this story I've come across The plot is familiar a pretty girl a beastly looking man a curse a flower an enchanted castle You all know it But the characters are fresh Caitrin is a scribe escaping from her abusive relatives Anluan is a young man suffering from palsy whose family was cursed decades ago The story is set in Ireland Whistling Tor is an enchanted misty place full of sleepless ghostsThe main challenge of any Beauty and the Beast retelling is to make us believe in a deep connection and love between a pretty girl and an ugly best like man I remember reading Robin McKinley's version and never feeling why and when the two main characters fell in love Not so in Heart's Blood The way Caitrin and Anluan's relationship is written makes you truly believe in their love for each other And even in their mutual sexual attraction No small fit considering that Anluan is pretty much a cripple There is also this great way these two communicate I found very appealing they do not try to change each other but help one another to overcome their weaknesses and hang ups to realize how much they have to offer to become confident stronger Very touching My only problem the usual with all Juliet Marillier's books is that she tends to be too wordy Very often I feel like whatever needs to be said could have been said in fewer words I found myself particularly frustrated in the end of the story when all exciting stuff started happening and it was slowed down by wordiness I skim read a lot at that point to get to the juicy stuffI see that Heart's Blood is the first book Whistling Tor series I wonder what else is there to say about this place What future books are going to be about? Does anyone know?

  4. says:

    Actual rating 35 starsTrust me I wanted to love this book so so much But if Heart's Blood casted a spell on me captivating me I encountered the same problems I had with Shadowfell making it hard to entirely connect with the story especially in the second half ✔ Fascinating settings Think about an ominous forest a mysterious castle whose inhabitants have been suffering from a curse for years What not to love? If I wasn't completely won by the writing I'll come back to that I can't deny that the descriptions were beautifully crafted and so vivid it felt as if I was there ✔ An intriguing plot Beauty and the Beast is shockingly lol one of my favorite fairytales of all times yet its retellings rarely manage to capture the magical enthrallment I felt the first time I read Beaumont's tale and I've grown to resent and avoid them to be honest The fact is either they're too close to the original but boring or they're so twisted that I can't recognize anything None of this here If the story turns let me bewildered in a good way Juliet Marillier included several aspects as winks to the fairytale reader and I loved that From the underlying darkness threatening every turn to the longing oozing from every page I flew through the first half enchanted ✔ A well developed and complex cast of characters ► Caitrin is a wonderful and relatable heroine after having been abused by her family after her father's death she finds the courage to flee and is constantly testing her strength She's by no means our kickasssoul eating warrior yet she is strong in her not so flashy way ► Anluan is a crippled cursed man whose anger issues would have infuriated me if his character wasn't so multi layered so complex Please don't judge him too fast he can be maddening but he's not violent and so so loyal The despair of this awkward self loathing man who hides behind his grumpiness moved me So burdened and tortured unable to see that life can be ► As for the other inhabitants of Whistling Tor what can I say except that I loved them all? From Magnus the kind soldier to Eirith the crazy monk they all add something magical to the story and I couldn't help but draw parallels with the Beast hilarious and endearing companions ✔ The romance is believable light and straights on wonderful They made me sueal I know GAH They gradually learn to trust each others' to overlook the appearances and their fears Unfortunately there was a counter spell Sigh✘ Trust me I don't mind a little predictability Until I reach the point when it influences in a bad way what I think about a MC Sadly it was the case here It took Caitrin so much time before solving the mystery IN SPITE OF ALL THESE EVIDENCES EVERYWHERE it drove me nuts See I understand that she's willing to trust but come on This is too much From the moment I figured it all way too fast I grew restless then annoyed even if I didn't want to be I was constantly making excuses for her lack of judgment until the moment I COULDN'T ✘ While I realize that it's a prevalent trope in fairytales in my opinion the hope talk grew old pretty fast Hope will prevail Because Hope is the key Don't you believe that? Have you understood how important hope is? Do you? Do you? Are you sure? Because I'm going to repeat it over and over again Oh My GOSH ✘ As I said earlier if I appreciated how beautiful the descriptions were it remains that the writing was often too wordy for me I'm by no means an action lover but it was so frustrating sometimes that I had a hard time not to skim Indeed some parts dragged so muchthat I couldn't help but be bored unfortunately and yes I wanted the author to go to the freaking point ► That's why it sort of lost its magic by the end Way too long in my opinion and yet I'll still keep a fond memory of Whistling Tor and its unusual inhabitants For of my reviews please visit

  5. says:

    This is definitely my favorite of Juliet Marillier's books but to be fair it's only my second That being said it wasn't a love at first sight much like the main character in this Beauty and the Beast retelling It grew on me much as the Beast grew on BelleThe later half was uite exciting and full of magic and trying to break the curse and there was plenty of ghosts and ghouls and armies and all the awesome Norman invasion historical stuff to keep me involved in the medieval world this draws from All the characters became something special for me too thanks to the weight of their interactions and involvement with each otherUnfortunately it took a while for me to get there I was kinda bored by the pacing of at least the first half and while it was really focused on the realism angle and strove hard to stick to reality in the retelling I was only very mildly interested It was halfway between a historical and a slice of life with mild hidden past It took a while to build up to something coolEven so it ended nicely and it was still charming

  6. says:

    Warning this is a gushy review so if you don't want to be embarrassed on my behalf turn away nowThe story opens with Caitrin our beauty in this BatB retelling running away from her abusive guardian as far as money can take her She goes as far as Whistling Tor on Whistling Tor later Desperate Caitrin takes a summer job as scribe to the reclusive lord of Whistling Tor despite the discouragement of the local folk She's determinedly positive irritatingly so at times to complete her work and help everyone in the household despite the scary shit going onThere are no beastly beasts here only Anluan He's physically deformed he's prickly and given to outbursts and view spoilerhe reluctantly commands the host an army of the undead hide spoiler

  7. says:

    This isn’t really a Beauty and the Beast retelling but it reminded me very loosely of one Again Juliet Marillier delivers a book that has the distinctive feel of an old school fairytale There is a curse a castle a semi disfigured man a strong heroine with nowhere else to turn and mirrors that don’t reflect the world but have other things moving inside of them It was bound to call out to me just waiting to be read There was an odd beauty in his isolation and his sadness like that of a forlorn prince ensorcelled by a wicked enchantress or a traveler lost forever in a world far from home Caitlin is a scribe in a world where female scribes aren’t accepted She has worked with her father her entire life and is great at what she does Her father has passed her work off as his own due to social convention but upon his death she has nowhere to turn and the family that should have protected her has something else in mind Without barely anything to her name she flees to escape the horrible fate into a land with a curse You think that would worse not better but Caitlin with take the curse over the people she left behind in a heartbeatI loved the Manor house and all of the oddities there The mirrors were some of my favorite things as they seemed to hold so much magic Some mirrors reflect you as you could be or the house at a different time of day or they let you into the mind of someone from the past Each mirror seemed special Learning about the curse in the slow way information was given to the reader left me on edge wanting to know and I was very surprised when the truth came to light Caitlin and Anluan seemed like a natural fit and like most fairytales there isn’t much to the buildup of their relationship and I found I didn’t care As soon as they start spending time on page together you can see where the relationship is going but I liked that Anluan wasn’t really a beast just gruff and marred by a palsy that made one side of his body weak Caitlin saw the man underneath and strived to help him with the burdens of the Cursed Host he was in charge of and the upcoming threat from an armyCaitlin is the hero of the story for sure and almost everything is from her PoV It made me feel like I was making the discoveries with her as the story progressed I liked that she wasn’t a healer or just someone’s daughter but had an actual skill set to contribute to society If you’ve enjoyed Mariller’s other tales this is on par with those in the feel ton and pacing I think she is for the patient reader that likes all the extra details and meandering down the path of the story in no hurry to get to the end

  8. says:

    35 stars I think Your coming here has changed everything Caitrin You have opened my mind to possibilities beyond any I had dreamed of So I fetched the books I knew you could translate them butCaitrin the idea of any action of mine causing you hurt isit's unbearable You areyou're like a beating heart A glowing lamp I've never met anyone like you before This book was beautifuland the male lead was EVERYTHING I was looking for Dark Tortured Brokendeeply and madly in love with the girl who came out of nowhere and gave him hopeBut I must say that this might not have been the best choice for this long weekend where my own version of the beast was acting just like his namesake Soyeah Perhaps another weekend the story itself and not just Anluan would have captured my soul but as it is the first 50% had a bit less Anluan than I would have liked followed by a very very good second half I'm always so conflicted on how to rate these Mood vs storyMale lead vs everything else5050 winlose vs again my moodSo yeah I have no clue The mystery as to who was a cruel evil bastard of a villain was easy to spot from a mile away but it didn't take anything away from the story so that wasn't the problem Perhaps her research? I don't know Can't uite put my finger on it buteh Oh well For of my reviews please visit

  9. says:

    Are you feeling nostalgic about your Beauty the Beast days? I mean the Disney movie Then you should totally read Heart's Blood by Juliet MarillierHer novels are as elegantly picked out as her pseudonym Marillier's heroes and heroines are always so classy They never say That bastard is a villain Let's chop him in three They always maintain their humanity and it isn't because they're too innocent to think of crueler alternatives They're just above that dude Her heroes and heroines have a purity to them despite their mistakes etc Somehow you know they always mean well Is it because they only commit errors once it's well established that they are Good People? I don't think soI loved Anluan He's so brave and resilient Even after all the bumps and bruises he's still willing to get up if he sees hope which word was repeated much too often by the way LOL Great secondary characters too Just as endearing as Lumiere and Cogsworth if less comedic LOLMarillier is so adept at evoking emotion We truly feel the weariness and loneliness of leadership and the other burdens facing Anluan where oddly one never sees this depicted except in passingI loved the little similarities to BB from the lonely cart trip and scary woods to the mirrors This makes me want to watch the movie all over againOf the books written in this theme Heart's Blood is probably the most evocative of the emotion intended in the original that I've seen the highs and lows the terrible villainyFate the beautiful heroics She writes a fairy tale like nobody else At the same time the setting characters and plot are considerably different so if you don't want to read a simple transcription of the movie don't be worried That said I've seen Marillier plumb the depths of emotion deeply and her language and concepts eg ancient lawmen seemed much simplistic here than her usual or adapted to a modern audience I think she wanted to appeal to readersSo this is not my favorite work from her but still a fabulous read Even Marillier's lesser books are exceptional Recommended for all BB fans or romance fans PG 13 but if I like it you know it's not kiddy LOL

  10. says:

    DNF 50 pages from the endI'm sorry but I just can't do it any This is uite simply one of the slowest books I've ever read Is it well written and atmospheric? Absolutely yes But I found neither the plot nor the characters particularly compelling If I were being honest with myself I'd recognise that I was trying to force myself to love this simply because it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling But there's no reason that I must love every single one ever written After all I was never too keen on Beastly So I'm parting ways with this book now It's by no means a bad book but it wasn't the one for me I hope that others will enjoy it than I have For other Beauty and the Beast retellings or books influenced by the tale I'd highly recommend Cruel Beauty Uprooted Echo North Hunted A Curse So Dark and Lonely