Heart's Blood - Juliet Marillier This was the best version of Beauty and the Beast I've ever read. This is the sort of book that leaves me sad that it's over.

The main character, Caitrin, was trained as a scribe by her father, although that is widely considered a man's profession by most. She is fleeing her abusive fiance and his mother, and learned the Chieftain of Whistling Tor is looking for someone who can read latin, so she goes there looking for work, despite the warnings of the local people about the place being cursed, and there being creatures in the woods said to tear people apart.

It was obvious from the very beginning that certain characters were ghosts. The clues were laid on thick, from disappearing at inconvenient times, to telling Caitrin they never sleep, to the fact that on laundry day, only a couple of people ever actually had anything to be washed. I actually would have liked seeing her suspicious about that, since it was so overwhelmingly obvious to me. I still experienced some amount of glee at being right. I'd also guessed at who the villain was pretty early on, and was a little bit annoyed at seeing so many excuses made for their behavior. I could see certain incidents being excused, were they on their own, but stacked up, it was a little bit over the top. This didn't ruin my enjoyment, though.

As with most of this author's work, I really loved her supporting characters. Rioghan and Eichri were particular favorites of mine, and I found myself teary near the end of the book when it was time to bid them farewell. This author always writes fantastic love stories, and although the journey can often get very dark, she always delivers a happy ending. And sometimes, you need that.