Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Release Date: November 3, 2009
After fleeing home, a young scribe, Caitrin, ends up at Whistling Tor. Not a typical town, Whistling Tor has been isolated and a rarely sought destination as the people there live under a curse. It is said that their leader, Anluan, is a useless leader who is crippled, and plagued by the mystical curse. Things have not changed for many many years, but when Caitrin takes refuge at Whistling Tor for a night, the unchanging, shadowed lives of the townspeople might just change.
The majority of the people of Whistling Tor live below the hill on which Anluan's estate sits. Caitrin finds shelter at the local inn there, and after hearing that Anluan requires a scribe, scrambles up the hill through the haunted forest that lies before Anluan's place. Desperate not to return home and direly in need of a job, Caitrin agrees to transcribe and recopy the documents in Anluan's library.
At the castle, Caitrin meets Anluan's small, but loyal and kind household. Although Anluan and the only lady in his household seem cold to Caitrin, she finds friends in other members of his staff. Despite being extremely doubtful Caitrin would truly stay the whole summer to finish the job, Anluan's household soon warm to her and see her determination. Despite her dedication to her work, many questions about Whistling Tor and Anluan's past spring up for Caitrin as she transcribes the library's contents. Why is Whistling Tor cursed? And why are there some horribly dark materials in the castle's library? Caitrin realizes that this will not be a simple summer job, but Anluan is extremely reluctant to give any answers.
Closed off from the outside world for so long, Anluan has not had many interactions with others, and has lived a tormented life. But when Caitrin came to Whistling Tor, Anluan may not be able to remain isolated forever. Gently persistent, Caitrin begins to break down the barriers Anluan has put up, and learn the secrets of his past. But most important of all, Caitrin brings something new to Whistling Tor--hope. Now Caitrin, Anluan and the others will have to rise up and find the courage and hope to change, so the curse can no longer control their lives.
I really enjoyed reading Heart's Blood. As I got further along, I could not put this novel down! I was eager to read on and continue Caitrin and Anluan's journey! Ms. Marillier writes beautifully and paints some rich images. It is a tale of courage, hope, forgivness, patience and faith. I loved watching the characters grow and mature! Although I would not say the plot is extrodinary or very unique, it is a well written tale that is worth reading!