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Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood) Paperback – Bargain Price, July 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Tales of Goldstone Wood (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 363 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207806
  • ASIN: B004J8HZXO
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Debut author Stengl conjures the fantastic world of Parumvir. The kingdom's Princess Una is courted by Prince Aethelbald of Farthestshore. She, however, finds him insufficiently romantic and much too boring in his concerns for her safety as a dragon approaches the kingdom. When Una makes the wrong choice, catastrophe ensues for the princess and her family, and love, courage, and trust are needed when darkness engulfs the kingdom. Allegory is hard at work here--occasionally too hard, when the intended meaning drives the plot instead of the plot being driven by the momentum of events. But Stengl does let her imagination run in inventing some delightful things and scenes: the Twelve-Year Market that appears in its own good time and sells fairy goods; a clever blind cat who is invariably underfoot and has, of course, a secret. Since they never get enough to read in this small market niche, Christian fantasy fans will be particularly enthralled by this first in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. A clever debut from an author worth watching.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–This captivating romantic fantasy carries readers on an adventure that begins in the privileged prosperity of the peaceful kingdom of Parumvir and then descends to the dark desolation of a dragon's lair. Princess Una, 18, is strong-willed, immature, and courted by princes who have many reasons to desire her. One sees her as a way to escape the consequences of his poor choices. Another thinks he is in love but, when pressured into making a difficult decision, easily disavows his pledge. Aethelbald of Farthestshore is a mysterious faerie prince whose steadfast love and selfless service annoy Una and provoke her to set her will against him. When the princess makes some foolish choices, she finds that she has taken a path that will lead to her destruction, but the prince who truly loves her is willing to pay the ultimate price to set her free. This is a quick-paced, thoughtful tale of love, betrayal, loyalty, and trust with a hero whose character calls to mind Aslan, in C. S. Lewis's “Narnia” series. Watching the growth of the princess from a headstrong young woman to one ready to learn from others allows readers a glimpse into the workings and intricacies of the human heart. It unmasks some of traps that can ensnare the young and sidetrack them on the road to maturity. A fun debut novel that is hard to put down and carries a strong message about the importance of making good choices.–Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Woods series, an ever-growing world of knights and dragons, mystical forests and hidden demesnes, unspeakable evil and boundless grace.
Her first novel, Heartless, won the Christy award for best debut in 2011, followed by an unprecedented consecutive win the next year for Veiled Rose, in its own category, and Starflower was most recently honored with the Clive Staples Award for 2013.

Customer Reviews

I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it.
I would recommend is book to anyone who likes adventure, mystery, fantasy, and the thrills of a good book.
The characters were well defined and the story was engrossing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Shera on June 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Original review on Book Whispers.

Genre: YA Fantasy (Classic Fairy Tale)

Fairytales are the timeless joy of the fantasy genre. Readers thrive off of them, whether it's retellings or variations of our favorite stories. What gets readers into more of a frenzy then the classic Fairytale? Why, an original tale that is clearly worthy of the classics. That is exactly what Heartless is.

The beauty of Stengl's writing style will please fantasy fans who hunger for the kind of quality found in Robin McKinley's books. For those who find McKinley's style too harsh and a bit hard to sink into, Stengl's softer style will be a relief. The landscapes just flow up majestically and the emotions that consume the reader make the characters feel real. The story and plot sweeps across the page with a timeless grace.

Una is definitely a classic fairytale Princess. She needs to be rescued, and there are enough warnings given to her before hand that she shouldn't have fallen victim. Then again--that's life--everyone has bitten and choked on the apple at some point. Una's downfall is of the heart, a modern and historic story of how someone can give their heart to the wrong person. In Una's case it's a terrible price she pays for the nativity of her emotions. Unlike the classic princess, Una is strong and willful. She has enough spirit to make up her own mind, and in the end find redemption--even learning from her mistakes. (Of course Prince Charming still get to ride in and save the day.)

Dragons never quite get the attention they deserve in most fairytales. In Heartless the Dragon(s) finally get that time to shine--even if they are quite the villains. Anne has created a dragon mythology that sent my head spinning into giddiness.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was completely turned off by Una, the princess and main character. She was whiny, temperamental, cowardly, not very intelligent (as she makes one bad choice after another), and was just generally very difficult to like. I couldn't find many reasons why the brave, virtuous Prince would pursue her to the ends of the earth. Also, new characters were introduced at various points when they didn't seem essential to the story; sometimes it just muddled the story and made it more confusing. I also agree with a couple of other reviewers about the constantly changing dialogue (old English at one point, and modern slang the next). Overall it was an interesting premise, but didn't have enough substance to hold it all together cohesively.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By NoelaN on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
`Heartless' is a remarkable and fascinating inspirational allegorical fantasy, set within the different world of Parumvir and other wonderful kingdoms each ruled by nobility. This enchanting and spellbinding tale provides an absolute feast of intrigue, adventure, great peril, magic and romance! And then... there's the dragon. A horrendously monstrous, reptilian-scaled and fire-breathing evil beast! This is a tale filled with incredible characters and fairy-tale type creatures, and layered with cleverly composed allegories.

In the Kingdom of Parumvir, we find that Princess Una has come of age. Suitors of noble status journey from kingdoms far and wide to pay their respects to her. But it is from the Unseen realm of Farthestshore that the `remarkably unremarkable' Prince Aethelbald arrives to declare his love and intentions toward Una. He is however rejected by the Princess. Furthermore, his warnings to her father King Fidel of a coming great and terrible danger are not heeded. There is yet another one who is also rejected by the lovely princess and one of those rejected nobility will become dangerously revengeful. Feeling as if her dream of being swept away in love by a prince was never going to happen, she was taken by surprise when an unexpected admirer, captured her heart completely. He asks her to trust him when he had to leave to help free his imprisoned people from the dragon. But can he truly be trusted, and will she continue to trust him when he doesn't return, and of what cost will this trust be to her and to those she loves?

Meanwhile the menacingly evil and fiery Dragon is on its way to Parumvir to claim Una, the `Beloved of my enemy', a name he'd called her in one of the terrible dreams she was plagued with after touching a dragon scale at the 12 Year Market.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Chatham on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Heartless is book one of 'Tales of Goldstone Wood', debut novel by author, Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Princess Una of Parumvir has just turned eighteen and is excited about her suitors that are soon to apply for her hand in marriage. Her father, King Fidel, has promised she can marry whomever she wishes. Una dreams of a charming Prince, riding up on a white charger, proclaiming his undying love and devotion. However, when Prince Aethelbald of the mysterious kingdom of Farthestshore, does just that, Una is appalled and threatens to never marry him, ever.

Among her suitors, is Prince Gervais, whom Una is sure is THE one, however, it comes to her father's attention that Gervais has been thrown from his kingdom by his father for gambling debts. He is a cad of the best kind and is only looking for Una's hand for the dowry she would bring.

The Duke of Shippening is old, fat and arrogant and is looking for a young bride to have as a trophy. He cares nothing for Una and only wishes to use her to become king. When the Duke doesn't get his way, he declares war on the kingdom of Parumvir.

Leonard, the jester and court fool, has also won Una's heart and after learning his secrets, she promises to wait for him. However, she comes to learn that he isn't all that he says he is and Una must come to terms with their relationship.

The Dragon King is also on the hunt for Una, he can feel her and needs to make her one of his own. The Dragon King joins forces with the Duke and together, the two wreck havoc, death and destruction on all the kinsmen of Parumvir. Its up to Una's brother Felix, her cat, Monster and the magic of the Goldstone Wood to save the day.
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