Heart's blood review 11.11.2009


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Book review for The Mudgee Guardian by CK Bray 11.11.2009

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Heart's blood review 11.11.2009

  1. 1. HEART’S BLOOD Author: Juliet Marillier <br />Publisher: Pan Macmillan AustraliaISBN 9781405039437RRP $32.99Reviewed by: CK Bray <br />“Heart’s Blood” by Juliet Marillier is a magical fairy tale all grown up. Based on the Beauty and the Beast story, “Heart’s Blood” is beautifully written, moving and romantic.<br />I immediately cared about the characters, was entranced with the clever retelling of the fable and so gripped by the action and adventure it kept me turning pages until late into the night. I did struggle with some of the more challenging Celtic names, as I don’t speak Gaelic, but it certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment of reading this book. <br />We join the lovely Caitrin who is on the run from her horribly abusive kinfolk following the death of her beloved father. Bruised and battered, Caitrin arrives at Whistling Tor, a spooky village in a region ruled by a family who have suffered great misfortune. Plagued by ghosts and ghouls, the area is said to be under a curse and the chieftain hides away in his castle at the top of the Tor, or hill.<br />Caitrin’s desperation for work and shelter overcome her fear and she travels to the top of the Tor and meets Anluan, the cranky and crippled chieftain, along with his band of bizarre servants and advisors. Set in picturesque medieval Ireland, ruled by Ruaridh Uí Conchubhair, Caitrin’s work uncovers deep secrets which may have been better left undisturbed.<br />“Heart’s Blood” is a more modern update of the classic fable. The chieftain, not a hideously deformed beast, but a man who has suffered a childhood accident, bearing more psychological scars than physical. I interpreted “The Beast” not portrayed by a horrible creature but manifesting itself as the spectre of domestic violence. Pure evil is not crafted as a hideous animal but revealed to be a selection of the seven deadly sins, all too human after all. Wrath, envy, pride and greed exposed as the monsters they are!<br />Mystical beings, sorcery and magic, clearly passions of the author, are delightfully woven into the story. Its clear Marillier is also an animal lover, as Fianchu, the dog in “Heart’s Blood”, is depicted with a character as brave and noble as any hero. I was thoroughly fascinated by the author’s knowledge of gardening and herb lore, for culinary and medicinal purposes and am inspired to grow more healing herbs in my own garden.<br />The slow blooming romance between Caitrin and Anluan is as sweet as any first love, though the challenges to their association appear insurmountable; it was especially refreshing to have a female heroine as the champion of the tale. “Heart’s Blood” is an enchanting yarn of historical fiction at it’s finest. So sneak inside to hide from the heat with a cool drink and a wonderful read.<br />