As one comes to expect with Marillier's writing, you are immediately drawn into this novel. The writing is beautiful, albeit too verbose at times, and atmospheric. You have no doubt regarding Anluan's family curse and the consequences of the curse overall. You come to see Caitrin and a number of the characters as nearly real and you do in fact root for them.
I must say, however, that Anluan did not jump from the page for me as much as many of the secondary characters did. While I enjoyed his character and believe him well-written overall, I would have liked him to have played a larger primary role. There is much about what he was doing etc., but I would have liked more dialogue from the man himself. I think this was part of the reason I was not fully convinced of the relationship with Caitrin. I think for me there were too few on page interactions of the characters previous to their acknowledgement of love (whether it be to themselves or the other person).
As for the setting, it was quite similar to the setting of [b:Daughter of the Forest|13928|Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1)|Juliet Marillier|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1343589988s/13928.jpg|1897725], so there was no complaint from me. It was quite atmospheric and I rather wanted to walk amongst the pages myself.
I felt the ending was a bit rushed considering how drawn-out the rest of the novel was. I was also hoping for a bit of a different ending, but this could be due to my only other experience with the Beauty and the Beast being with Disney. Yes, not the best source of knowledge I admit but it did lend some hopes, we'll say, to how the story would unfold. What can I say, I did not grow up in a fairytale reading household (we're more of the animal, dinosaur, nature etc. reading types)...I'm making up for it now.
Overall, I genuinely enjoyed Heart's Blood although I did grow a tad bored by the end--Marillier's verbosity alongside my itchiness to move on to another book contributed to this. But I do recommend it, especially for those interested in a well-written and atmospheric fairytale retelling.