Roc, Nov 2009, $24.95
The man taking her for a fee from her abusive marriage dumps her in the middle of nowhere offering his bed as protection from the night; he implies something more dangerous than marauding Normans. Although frightened to be abandoned nowhere near a settlement, eighteen years old trained scribe Caitrin rejects the offer as she scrambles for Whistling Tor. Two monks meet her and suggest the daughter of Berach ask for Tomas the innkeeper.
Whistling Tor is ruled by the cursed chieftain Anluan, whose name is whispered in repulsive horror. He was crippled as a child and has no hope for himself, his family, or his fortress as doom is everyone’s future.
That is until Caitrin arrives in his garden studying the HEART’S BLOOD. She is retained to archive the family library and other misplaced documents. Caitrin brings with her hope even for the ghosts who reside inside the fortress but especially Anluan. As the Normans invade, Caitrin knows she loves her employer and believes he reciprocates, but for their hearts to blend into one, she must find a way to lift the curse caused by ancient sorcery long forgotten.
This is an engaging Gaelic fantasy romance starring two fascinating reluctant souls. Whereas she was burned in marriage; he was burned by the ancestral curse. Obviously for fantasy romance fans, Juliet Marillier provides a wonderful tale of love with a wee touch of the paranormal.