Heart’s blood by Juliet Marillier is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, in which the magic elements (the mirror, the rose) are put in a defined historical context, The XII century Ireland during the Norman invasion.
Caitrin is a young scribe and she is running away from an abusive family, and chooses to propose her service as translator and writer at Whistling Tor, a fortress surrounded by woods, known as malicious.
Whistling Tor, and its chieftain Anluan, are subjected of a malediction lasting for more than one hundred years: the surrounding hills are populated by the dead people come again alive, and only Anluan mental control stops them in devastating the surrounding areas.
Anluan is presented as a resigned character: because of an illness as children he has some physical impairments, and he thinks he is not suited for his role, but the arrival of Caitrin will change the situation and bring hope again.
I found this novel excessively long and obvious: Caitrin keeps on talking about hope, probably in the logic of repetita juvant, and the final turning of events is quite foreseeable.
The love story between the two main characters (Caitrin e Anluan) is thick as a leaf, we are told they are in love, and we have to believe it, despite the fact that they met a couple or times exchanging a few words.
Too bad, because other elements are innovative, like the creepy mirrors, the sorcery operated by one of Anluan’s ancestry, and the historical dimension that was partly exploited.
* Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier ★★☆☆☆
*I read this book in english