Grey Carteret is the most powerful conjurer in all of England. This well respected magician finds himself face down in a gutter one day. He has no idea how he got there and feels as if he's suffering from a bad hangover. When he comes to, a young lad interrupts him. The boy, who goes by the name of Parkin, has been keeping watch over a very grumpy Grey. He finds out to his surprise that this boy is actually a miss who can work magic. She is Pearl Parkin and is disguised as a boy because she is all alone and practically living on the street. She longs to be an apprentice, but can't because she's a female. Women who work magic are not acknowledged in the most elite of magical circles. Around the time Grey gains consciousness, a man is found dead from dark magic. The crowd accuses Grey of being the murderer, and is arrested and brought to jail. Pearl follows him and promises to send word to a few of his high ranking friends as long as he makes her his apprentice. Gray doesn't want one, but since he is stuck in a very bad situation, he has no choice. Through a blood oath, where he and Pearl share their blood, he makes a pack and Pearl gets her deepest desire.
Pearl goes for help and meets a few trusted magician friends of Grey, such as Harry Tomlinson and his own female apprentice Elinor Tavis. Both are thrilled with Pearl and welcome her into the fold. Grey's father, the Duke of Brandon, is able to release Grey from jail even though father and son are not necessarily on speaking terms. Now that Grey has been exonerated, he takes Pearl in and will build up her magical skills. But there are surprises in store for both of them because Pearl is a sorceress and one of very few in the world.
As Grey and Pearl learn to work with one another, they also search for the one responsible for the murder Grey was first accused of. Through the sharing of Pearl's blood, Grey draws out her magic to help him. This blood sharing, where Gray sucks on Pearl's bleeding finger at any certain time, makes their bond stronger. Grey begins to see Pearl in a different light. They now must stop a deranged individual who uses black magic to raise demons to kill. Only Gray, Pearl and their close knit group of skilled wizards can stop this fiend before it is too late for not only the supernatural community, but all of England as well.
Heart's Blood (Blood Magic #2) has a great Victorian historical feel with a nice blend of magic and mystery. The descriptions of British society surrounded by a multitude of mysticism and sorcery really works well here. This semi-underground world of alchemy is very rich in its telling and explained so well where you won't become lost.
Grey is a dashing and stoic gentleman who needs his hair ruffled. The woman who is able to accomplish this is the naive and innocent Pearl that he is drawn to. Their relationship changes from teacher to student so suddenly to an all-consuming love affair that really jolted me out of the action. Whereas Grey walks on egg shells with Pearl at first, because he is uncomfortable around her, he changes his mind out of the blue. Unfortunately the second half of the story is Grey and Pearl bed hopping all over the place. Now I'm all for intimacies shared between the two many characters, but in all honesty, I felt this abundance of passion shared between Grey and Pearl really wasn't needed. If Gail had kept to the overall tone of the story and alluded to the love shared between Grey and Pearl, or perhaps written it in a more subtle way, then Heart's Blood would have really hit the mark for me.
Even with the sudden relationship change between Grey and Pearl becoming too much of a focus, including a very low move on Grey's part concerning Pearl, I would say that Heart's Blood has some great moments with an ending that delivers great fireworks and explosions, especially in regards to the murderer, who came as a complete surprise for me.
Gail Dayton's storytelling skills are excellent as she combines paranormal mystery and romance in such a way most readers will enjoy. Heart's Blood was a refreshing and unique historical fictional read.