From Publishers Weekly
Wearing her influences openly and simply, Marillier (Heir to Sevenwaters
) incorporates familiar elements of mystery, fantasy and Irish history into a strong tale of very human romance. Trained by her father as a scribe, 18-year-old Caitrin yearns to practice her craft, but she must first escape a forced marriage to a brutal man. Her flight takes her to Whistling Tor, where the crippled, cursed chieftain Anluan rules over a wasteland of horrors. Against the odds, Caitrin makes a place for herself in a household of ghosts and in Anluan's heart, but when the Norman conquerors arrive, violence once again threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Not innovative but eminently readable, Caitrin and Anluan's love story is bittersweetly realistic, best suited to romance readers who like a bit of fantasy rather than fantasy readers who like a bit of romance. (Nov.)
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Set in Ireland during the twelfth-century Norman invasion, Marillier’s outstanding fantasy is a Beauty and the Beast tale with gothic sensibilities. Fleeing an abusive suitor, Caitrin arrives in Whistling Tor penniless and uncertain of her future. She becomes a scribe for the chieftain Anluan, who lives in a neglected hilltop fortress, but the job has perils rivaling her own. Mercurial and physically crippled, Anluan is beset by revenants, thanks to an ancestral curse. Those otherworldly forces wish only rest, but a whispering voice drives them to violence whenever Anluan leaves the hill. Caitrin believes that the secret to breaking the curse lies in the family records. Though her presence brings much needed hope and love to Anluan, it also puts them in danger. Caitrin and Anluan are a dynamic couple. No longer willing to be passive victims, they struggle to overcome the past and make their destinies. Though the folkloric structure and gothic tropes are predictable, and the pacing occasionally lags, in Marillier’s capable hands, this is a rousing supernatural mystery and a satisfying romance. --Krista Hutley