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Customer Reviews for Bethany House Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1

Bethany House Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #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.
Average Customer Rating:
4.591 out of 5
4.6
 out of 
5
(22 Reviews) 22
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Rating Snapshot (22 reviews)
5 stars
16
4 stars
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16 out of 1794%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Review 1 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

beautiful allegory

Date:March 2, 2014
Customer Avatar
Ember
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wow, normally fantasy allegory is not a genre I enjoy. But Anne Elisabeth writes it with a twist like none other! I couldn't put it down.
The world of Goldstone wood is one of the most complex and layered storyworlds I have ever come across in fantasy. It is huge and ever-expanding with so much more depth, and history, and characters that you could believe. Every book in the series is better than the last!
Anne Elisabeth's writing style is unusual and reminiscent of older classic fairy tales. It is a bit hard to get used to at first, but hang in there! Because once you catch onto her unique and beautiful style it is one incredible ride and well worth the time.
One thing I've noticed is how many reviewers seem to hate Una. Maybe these folks just don't like her because she's a little too real. Yes, she's selfish, she's stubborn, she's a dreamer, always looking for something newer, brighter, more appealing. She's totally unsatisfied and missing out on the good and wonderful things (and people) that are right under her nose.
She's just like you and me.
Personally, I love Una. And I love how Anne Elisabeth breathes life into these beautiful, broken characters. Her characters may be far from perfect, and their endings may be too, but in the end, that is what makes their story so much more meaningful.
In this allegory, Una is a representation of the modern day church and it's faults. It is a story about How God pursues us relentlessly, calling us back to him, and to show that no matter how vile we can become God still loves us and is waiting to claim us as his.
How incredible is that?
+1point
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Review 2 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantasy to fall in love with

Date:December 21, 2012
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Jael
Location:TX
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
About a young woman coming of age to marry, the consequences of her choices and the offer of redemption. I found the imagery brilliant, the flow of the story almost lyrical. I had a hard time putting the book down. I did find that throughout the book I wasn't as connected to the characters as I was to the story, its allegory and the style. The author's website says, the Tales of Goldstone Wood are a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style" which I think she did very well.
I will definitely read more from this author.
0points
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Review 3 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
This review is fromHeartless - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Interesting!

Date:December 12, 2012
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tanderson
Location:Texas
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I enjoyed this book and will pass it along to my daughter! Love the way it came together in the end!
0points
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Review 4 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Heartless is a story of true heart

Date:September 16, 2012
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Blooming with Books
Location:Bloomer, WI
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Heartless
Tales of Goldstone Wood
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Una is princess of Parumvir and she is anxious to be sought by nobility who desire her hand in marriage. But all too soon Una gets her heart's desire in the form of three very different suitors. But little does Una realize that her choice will determine not only her future but also the fate of her very soul.
When Prince Aethelbard of Farthestshore declares his love to Una and his desire to marry her she refuses him. Then Prince Gervais of Beauclair seeks her hand, as does her father's old childhood acquaintance the Duke of Shippening. But only to Leonard - Prince Lionheart of the Southlands does she give her heart. But Leonard is a prince in hiding and only to Una does he reveal his true identity.
Having touched a dragon's scale Una and the kingdom of Parumvir are in danger, but Aethelbard's warnings fall on deaf ears. When the very dragon they were warned of comes upon them unaware King Fidel and Prince Felix may lose their very lives trying to save Una from her fate.
But love is the only way to save Una, a sacrificial love. But whom among Una's suitors would be willing to die for her and to give up their heart so that she might be saved? Or will Una be Heartless for the rest of her life?
Heartless is a lovely allegory of love and sacrifice. True love is only true if it is given for no personal gain.
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 5 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This isn't your normal fantasy.

Date:September 16, 2012
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Kurisuta
Location:New Bedford, MA
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book might not be for you if you're not into Fairy Tale as this is how Anne Elisabeth wrote this book. However, if you're a big fan of such writers as George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis, then this book is definitely for you! (Or if you're just curious, like I was.)
At face value, this seem like a regular fairy tale about a princess, a prince, and a dragon, but if you look closer, you see it's so much more. I'm sure some people have said that it's a cautionary tale about foolishly giving your heart away and they're right. But it's also a tale about the Church, the modern church that is, and how we're so "easily distracted from the truth of the gospel, looking for quick-fixes, running after the next new and exciting idea, and falling into traps of worldly thinking, forgetting the truth of grace and love(quote is from the author's blog)." It's a tale of how our Savior never stops pursuing us, even when we tell Him to leave us be and we cause Him pain. Of how He is there for us at the end when no one else is.
After reading this book, I couldn't wait to pick up the other books to see what happened to the characters. And I hope you pick them up too!
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 6 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Stirring storytelling

Date:August 13, 2012
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Bethany
Location:Staten Island, NY
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Allegory is my thing. Poetry is my thing. Fairytales are my thing.
Stories of true to life princesses, scary dragons, skilled knights, talking animals, and the battle between good & evil make up what I call a pretty sweet read.
Connecting with the all-too human like characters, feeling right along with them, entering so deeply into the beautiful, exciting plot-lines were things I found myself doing in the course of devouring this book.
This was good, beautiful, moving, and fresh storytelling.
If these aren't your things, then you wont like this book or the style it's written in. If it is, this series will become one of your favorites, I can guarantee that.
I enjoyed every moment of "Heartless" (read it over 5 times in a year and half!) and am looking forward to reading "Moonblood" and "Starflower."
Great work, Anne Elisabeth Stengl!
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 7 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
This review is fromHeartless - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great quick read

Date:September 17, 2012
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Japhethwg
Location:Sandstone, MN
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
A wonderful tale about a princess and her quest of discovery. With some mystical stuff thrown in. Kept my attention all the way through.
0points
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Review 8 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
This review is fromHeartless - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Ending

Date:September 13, 2012
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erincap
Location:North Carolina
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This book started out slow and I almost put it down but I am so glad that I didn't. The story ended strong and left me wanting more so I purchased the two sequels and can't wait for the rest of the series.
0points
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Review 9 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Beautiful, touching, and inspiring!

Date:July 23, 2012
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Anonymous
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The front cover was what caught my interest, not the summary. When I got to read it, I was afraid it would be a mushy love story playing up on temporary passion.
Not at all.
It is this fake idea of "love" that Una has at first, and as the story progresses and her heart is broken, she learns how shallow crush-like love is. Now she's given up on any kind of love, and it is the sacrificial love of the Prince that finally redeems her.
Most people, rather they know it or not, have a lot in common with Una. She's a young girl with big dreams, she's self-absorbed, and she wants to do things by her own power.
The first half of the book is merely a fairytale about a princess who longs to be the bride of a dashing prince. Enter the Dragon: story totally changes. We go from a bright, happy, little story, to a gripping tale of the destructive power of the devil (the Dragon), and then ultimately to the restoring love of Christ, (aka. the Prince) who never gives up on Una (us). And for any worries, the Dragon wants to make Una his child, not his wife, as the summary suggests. While Una is the obvious representation of mankind, or moreover, the church, there are several other characters who need the redemption of the Prince from Farthestshore.
Most likely, young men will not be interested in reading this book, as it was obviously marketed to females. However, another main character is Una's wanna-be-awesome, but hopelessly mischievous, brother Felix. There is also some rousing action, and a harrowing outlook on dragons. (Fact: There's more then one dragon in this story.) The writing is clever and funny. Oh, and keep an eye on that blind cat, Monster...he might have a few surprises up his paws.
This soul-searching story was beautifully done, and I have no doubt that it is building up treasure in heaven for the author.
If you like this book, do not even hesitate to buy the next two. And the one coming out in October, if you have any interest in that fluffy cat, at all ;)
+3points
3of 3voted this as helpful.
Review 10 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
This review is fromHeartless - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Beautiful and Riveting Tale of Unconditional Lov

Date:August 6, 2012
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Bookworm
Location:Lynchburg, Tennessee
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
How is true love measured? Ms. Stengl's wonderful novel, (the first in a wonderful series), addresses this question. I loved this story for its fairy tale style and subtle allegorical tone. The novel is an exploration of a young girl's loss of innocence and a tale of steadfast devotion as a suitor will stop at nothing to protect her.
Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and awaits courtship from dignitaries throughout the vast realm of Goldstone. Some of the suitors have ulterior motives and plan to use the princess for their own selfish means. TO whom will Una give her heart? When a fairy market mysteriously appears in Parumvir, Una is enticed by a mysterious stranger into touching an unusual object. Her action catapults the young woman into a perilous journey: a journey that will not only place Una in danger, but will cause harm to befall others. A seductive yet malevolent dragon is on the prowl, and he seeks the one "beloved by his enemy". What will become of Una and how can she be saved.
This story is simple yet simultaneously profound. Princess Una and Prince Aethelbald are amazing characters. My favorite character in the story is Monster, a blind cat who is more than he seems. Being blind myself, I truly appreciate authors who feature disabled protagonists in their writing. Please give this wonderful a story a chance. The ending will move you to tears and truly bring to mind Romans Chapter 6. Happy reading, and God bless you all.
+4points
4of 4voted this as helpful.
Review 11 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Fails to be even "Good"

Date:May 14, 2012
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Elsie
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
When I was given the opportunity to read Heartless, I cringed at the thought that this book would be seen as an example of Christian Fiction. For a Fairytale genre, it just doesn't compare at all to the modern fairytales I loved when I was younger. Even now, I can enjoy Gail Carson Levine's stories even if the writing is now geared for a much younger audience. I think the problem here is that "Heartless" isn't based on an existing fairytale and, despite what the publisher would have you think, rarely has any elements in common with fairytales at all.
As an allegory, this novel also fails. While, at the end, you can fully understand the parallels Anne is trying to draw, it is ultimately done clumsily. I cannot picture Christ as a lovesick puppy dog who only seems to care about one girl. The entire novel, I found myself having to ask, "Why Una? Why not any others?" I found myself cringing at Aethelbald's obsession with saving Una while he did not share that same obsession with any others.
The middle of the books is beyond long, it is so boring that I was tempted to toss the book in the trash without finishing it. Anne did a good job building up tension for the climax, but the climax itself only took two paragraphs. I was left feeling disgusted at just how anti-climatic it felt.
-3points
1of 5voted this as helpful.
Review 12 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Series highly recommended!

Date:April 9, 2012
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Kittymom
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I love this book! And the sequels make it even better. These are original fairytales that get better with every reading--each one reveals details about the other books in fascinating ways. The world is richly imagined, the characters are AMAZING, the writing is laced with sly humor, and the spiritual message is deeply engrained in the story--not preachy, not muddled, but there to find with just a little thought and focus from the reader.
Although these books are for an older audience than the Narnia Chronicles, I would say they compare most closely to C.S. Lewis's classics in quality of allegory and writing. They are intense; they are laugh-out-loud funny; they are beautiful.
As home school mom of a high school boy, I highly recommend this series to parents of teens who enjoy fantasy. Oh, and they're not just for girls, despite the pretty covers. I really hope word of this amazing fantasy series spreads quickly!
0points
1of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 13 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
This review is fromHeartless - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book, even for those who don't love Fantasy

Date:April 25, 2012
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Auntie Austen
Location:Upstate NY
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was a great book and I'm not usually drawn to Fantasy novels. The story was engaging and I had a hard time putting the book down and doing something else without wondering what happens next. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 14 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amazing Book

Date:December 9, 2011
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Kayla Merritt
Location:Defiance, OH
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wow, I loved this book. I just couldn't put it down. The characters were absolutely incredible. Una might have seemed a little whiny, but she was a very strong character. The only character I didn't like was the duke. He was ok at first, but as the book continued he got pretty annoying. The writing is fantastic, because it always keeps you guessing what happens next and has you on the edge of your seat. I like the way the human to dragon change was explained and so easy to follow. The only thing I wish would have been explained in more detail is about how they can't cross the bridge, which might be described more in book two. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of fantasy.
0points
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Review 15 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

My new favorite!

Date:June 16, 2011
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Abby
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Heartless is an amazing fairy tale that will have you laughing hysterically in one moment and next to tears in another. It is a timeless tale with countless twists and more than worth purchasing! This is certainly one of my new favorite books! It's right up there with Narnia :) It was freaking amazing!
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 16 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Different, but really awesome!

Date:June 11, 2011
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Lala
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I am not a big for the Fantasy genre, but I have to say this was an amazing book and had a wonderful ending! Anne did a great job and I can't wait for the rest of the series!
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 17 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:October 1, 2010
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Janna Ryan
Location:North Platte, NE
Age:35-44
Gender:female
I love a good speculative fiction book, this particular book I would even classify as allegorical. It is original and unique. The characters are a parade of contradictions and exaggerations and the setting is a very interesting world. I really liked Princess Una and her brother Prince Felix along with their father King Fidel, the other characters filled in around them nicely. The story started along very nicely with Una turning 18 and accepting suitors, then it got a little long in the middle when I was trying to figure out the allegorical respect of everything (sometimes I think a little too hard) but then pulled together very nicely for the last part when all the pieces fell right into place like a beautiful puzzle that suddenly deserves a frame. A nice fantasy book and it will be interesting to see where Anne takes the series from here.
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
Review 18 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 26, 2010
Customer Avatar
D. Loach
As a huge fan of Christian allegorical fiction, yet not a fan of fantasy...this book was a tough read for me. Not for the quality of the writing, Anne is quite gifted, but simply because of the genre.I would, though, give this as a recommendation for someone who is new to Christian fiction, or even just "good fiction". An engaging story about the quest for love and protection of a Kingdom. The main character, Princess Una has become a young woman, and her thoughts have turned to finding whom she will marry. When presented with the true prince, her attentions are not won. Instead, she is smitten with the much more striking - yet dangerous - prince.A great lesson in what the heart really needs, and reminder of the impact of our choices - Anne creatively paints that picture for us. Yet, the reader must glean these lessons for themselves. While not my first choice for a captivating read - I remain impressed, and it will certainly be added to the "must -have" list for church and Christian School libraries.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.I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.
0points
0of 0voted this as helpful.
Review 19 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 15, 2010
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Debbie from Genre Reviews
"Heartless" is an enjoyable fantasy novel for young adults and adults (though teen boys probably won't find it quite as interesting since the teen girl gets more point-of-view time than her brother).The world-building was excellent, skillfully immersing the reader in a unique and fantastical world without bogging the pace down with long descriptions or hard-to-pronounce names. The characters were engaging and complex. The princess and prince were occasionally arrogant, but overall they were admirable and brave.Initially, the tension was created by wondering who Una would choose to marry, but I mainly kept reading because of the enjoyable humor woven into the story and the charming writing style. Then the story shifted into adventure mode where the tension was created by physical dangers but also by the question about whether or not the princess would chose to trust the right person. I had a hard time putting the book down once the adventure section began.There was an underlying Christian allegory that I found very moving. The allegory wasn't overt, and I think the story would still be quite enjoyable and exciting even if the reader didn't realize the allegory--though they might think Prince Aethelbald's love for Una wasn't realistic (at least, for a human, so it's a good thing that he's not precisely human).There was no sex or bad language (that we'd call bad language). Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written novel as engaging, clean reading. I look forward to reading this author's future novels.I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
+2points
2of 2voted this as helpful.
Review 20 for Heartless, Tales of Goldstone Woods Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 9, 2010
Heartless is a beautiful allegory about our choices and how they affect us, and those around us. It is also a touching story about Jesus redeeming love for each of us. This is definitely a book unto itself. Ive never read anything quite like it in the fantasy genre or any other for that matter. Very original, and unique! Annes writing style is great, with lots of richness to it that will draw you into the story. I loved this book and I would recommend it to all ages!
+1point
1of 1voted this as helpful.
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