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Heartless [Paperback]

Anne Elisabeth Stengl
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2010 Tales of Goldstone Wood (Book 1)
Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.

Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The Dragon King Seeks His Princess--
Who Dares to Stop Him?

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon marry. She dreams of a charming prince, but when her first suitor arrives, he's not what she'd hoped. Prince Aethelbald of mysterious Farthestshore has travelled a great distance to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be on the hunt and blazing a path of terror.

Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his cautions with dire consequences. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in his sights. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

A Tale of Goldstone Wood
Timeless Fantasy That Will Keep You Spellbound

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 Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read~ Jan. 27 2014
By Hergerd
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought the girl was very annoying and silly, but as the book progressed she became less silly, and learned a lot about life and love and being a human being. Great Read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars heartless review July 26 2010
Format:Paperback
Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a story of love and adventure. It is a fantasy novel about dragons and princesses and kings and magic. It is the story of 18 year old Una and how she finds her path to true love. This book was nothing I was expecting it to be. When you see the beautiful cover and read the back, you assume it will be a sleeping beauty type story. Handsome hero fights the evil dragon and claims beautiful heroin as his own. The plot however, was a far cry from the expected. Una is of marriageable age and the suitors begin to come calling. She scorns anyone who does not meet her expectations for romance and adventure and soon finds that true love is more than simple excitement. The twists and turns in this book will take you for a wild ride and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy, or just a good read.

What I liked about this book: My favorite aspect of this book is the metaphorical. This book could be taken from the Bible. One of the characters, Una's main suitor Prince Aethelbald, is undeniably representing Jesus. And the dragon represents satan. I have read representations of the gospel before, and nothing compared to this. It is essentially a love story between Jesus and you. The theology is bang on too. For example, the dragon (or satan) could not take Una until she had given up all hope and gave in to him. To me, this was one of the most monumental truths in the book. That satan cannot have us as the rightful bride of Christ, unless we lose faith and hope in God and give ourselves to him.

What I didn't like about this book: Una is naiive, her view of love and life is a bit cliche. As a married sceptic of the wonder and joy and perfection and romance that young people think love is sickens me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read! July 25 2010
Format:Paperback
Heartless showcases a world more complex than exists in many fairy-tale style novels. The Princess Una has come of age to accept suitors, but she's not smitten with the first few who come to show their respect: Prince Aethelbald seems stodgy, and the Duke of Shippening is a doddering old man. But Una's in love with being in love, and these men aren't her idea of the perfect guy. Only the jester makes her smile.

What Una doesn't know is that there is a huge plot underfoot to gain control of her father's kingdom, Parumvir, and that she is being manipulated to make wrong choices. The story takes a distinct turn into left field midway through when the Dragon appears and tosses Una into a dark whirlwind she couldn't have foreseen. Neither could the reader, honestly. In retrospect, there was foreshadowing, but I wasn't prepared for the completely different feel unfolding in the second half of the book.

Besides the characters and the specific plot, the author has created an interesting world. Adjoining Parumvir are the Goldstone Woods. Una and her brother are forbidden from crossing the bridge to discover the strange things that go on in these woods, though Una's pet cat, Monster, has come from there. Not only is he blind, but has no eyes at all, yet he seems attuned to the family and is just as agile and coordinated as any sighted cat. And oh the fun when the faerie folk cross the bridge and set up the Twelve-Year Market in Parumvir.

This is a novel in which the omniscient point-of-view worked for me most of the time. I believe any story would be strengthened by the use of specific viewpoint characters, but Stengl's style ebbs and flows with the story and does it justice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! July 19 2010
By Christina Banks TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Princess Una of Parumvir has finally come of age and is eagerly waiting for suitors to come pay their respects. What Una doesn't expect is the fabled Twelve-year Market or Prince Aethelbald from the legendary country of Fartheshore. These are things of nursery rhymes and old stories. Still, they are real, and right before Una's eyes. The prince is not as romantic or handsome as Una would like, and despite his kindness and concern, she refuses to marry him. Will she ever accept his love? Will she listen to his warning about the coming evil dragon? Will she give her heart to another? Can death really bring life?

Anne Elisabeth Stengl casts an amazing spell her debut novel. I enjoy reading Young Adult Fiction, and this book did not disappoint. The fantasy and fairytale aspects of the story drew me in and kept me reading. I can't wait to read the rest of the Goldstone Wood series. These are going to be great!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  195 reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Fairytale, Worthy of the Classics June 24 2011
By Shera - Published on Amazon.com
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. They're like vampires in the aspect that they must be invited into a dwelling, and that they can turn other humans into dragons. It's breath taking, and terrifying, all at the same time. Heartless is such a tease as it reveals enough to get you there, but enough is left out to keep you crawling after the next book!

This is a win-win for Fairytale lovers! Dragon lovers will be smitten by the new mythology of the dragon. Princess Una will frustrate readers with the paroles of love, and have readers rooting for her (or wanting to smack her upside the head). This book deals with the modern day heartbreak on a grander scale only a Fairytale can exploit. The ending is just as practical and sweet as a Happily Ever After should be, so HEA readers should feel content. Keep an eye out for more by this author as there's more world--and dragons--to enchant readers.

Sexual Content: Really clean. A few kissing scenes, some blushing, and some very vague sexual humor. Definitely good for the kiddies.

Rating: 4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book . . . Really! Dec 17 2010
By Kids Book Maven - Published on Amazon.com
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartless is full of heart! March 25 2013
By NoelaN - Published on Amazon.com
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. It is Una's kiss and heart that the Dragon seeks to claim. But her father the King, her brother Prince Felix, Oriana Palace and their city are also in the Dragon's sights to destroy!

I loved the fantastic and unique elements throughout, such as the 12 Year Market; Woodhaven - The Halflight Realm; and the blind cat that seems to see and is more than what he seems! This riveting and intricately crafted tale is also threaded with such inspiring allegories; you will enjoy the thrill of discovering the Christian parallels as you read this story and likely even discover more as I did when you ponder the possibilities once you've finished. Some of them were so beautifully expressed; it was emotional at times! As was the humble and beautifully significant expressions of the Prince's love.

Overall, Heartless is an entertaining and exciting story of God's love and sacrifice. There are also many thought-provoking messages of encouragement we can take from this inspired fantasy tale. Una is challenged to learn not to trust her feelings or that what she sees, but to trust what she knows to be true, and to listen and obey that still, quiet voice in her spirit. The message of trust is also eloquently explained. We feel Una's terrible despair at being betrayed, her isolation and loneliness when she becomes different, and her overwhelming fear. However as demonstrated in Heartless, it is when we place our unswerving faith in God in all circumstances that He will bring that pure peace that passes all understanding!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once burned... May 30 2011
By Jennifer Chatham - Published on Amazon.com
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.

I wasn't un-impressed with the overall story, it has enough mystery and suspense to keep you reading, however, I did have a problem with Una, the heroine. I found her to be whiny, ignorant, naive and childishly head-strong. I think Prince Aethelbald could have taken the time to explain himself to Una, I feel she deserved the truth and not to be lied to nor manipulated. I really enjoyed Felix and Monster, they brought life and comedy to the story and I hope to see more of them in the future books.

I enjoyed the combat scenes, they weren't too graphic in nature, and I feel young readers would probably really enjoy this book~!! It has all the components of a good fantasy novel, including magic, love, combat, dragons, fairy land creatures and so much more. I liked the flow of the story, one doesn't have to backtrack to stay focused, as well, the descriptive aspects of the narrative were well written and imaginative. Each character is believable, except perhaps, The Dragon King, I expected more from him, instead he was a bit stereo-typed and cliched. I'm also unsure why this is labeled as a Christian-fiction, for there was absolutely no mention of God nor were any Christian aesthetics involved. All in all though, the book was a good read and I'm sure YA fantasy lovers will enjoy it and want to read more!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your ordinary fantasy. March 10 2013
By Christa McKane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you don't like books with Christian allegory in them, then this book isn't for you.

If you don't like books written in the fairy tale style, then this book isn't for you.

If you don't like books written in third-person omniscient point of view (like Charles Dickens), then this book isn't for you.

If you don't like books where the heroine isn't some hot, tough, plucky, butt-kicking, warrior maiden, but a teenage princess who is only a little pretty, not very brave, a bit spoiled, naive, stubborn, full of ideas for what romance should be like (much like any teenage girl), then this book isn't for you.

If you don't like books where the hero isn't a handsome, charming, witty, romantic, macho guy, then this book isn't for you.

However...

If you don't mind all of the above...

If you're looking for a book full of meaning, a tale of undeserved grace and love...

A tale of a Savior who is always there for us, even when no one else is...

Then this book is definitely for you.
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