Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood #1)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

from the back cover
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.

my rating

my review
This book grabbed me from the very beginning and held my interest until the very end (at which point, as with all good books, I stared at the acknowledgements page in great sorrow because I did not have book two on hand).

Una is immature and selfish but fittingly so for a princess, and the suitors are all well fleshed-out. I cringed at some and laughed with others, and Prince Aethelbald kept me wondering at his true nature a good long while. I wanted to like him, but at the same time didn't trust him. Leonard, though, was my favorite, but I won't say more about either of these men for fear of giving too much away.

And, of course, you know... DRAGONS. Again, very little I can say without spoiling everything, but the dragons were so cleverly done.

One minor complaint I have is the lack of creativity in names, i.e. Farthestshore and Wilderlands. I also found it odd that Una called her nurse "Nurse" for the entire book, and we're never given any other name for her.

Finally, I don't know that I would call Heartless a Christian allegory, but there were clear Christian themes woven throughout without being blatantly obvious, which I appreciated.

Have you read Heartless? What do you think of the name Aethelbald? (I think it's a fabulous name and very much fun to say.)

Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #1)


  1. Great review! I like the sound of this book! I wish I had read it before I read the second book in the series, but my library didn't have Heartless, so I had to settle for reading Veiled Rose first.

    1. That's odd (and rather frustrating) that they don't have book one! My library had book one in the general fiction and the others in the Christian fiction, so until I looked it up in the catalog I assumed they didn't have Heartless. I hope you can find a copy!

  2. I'm loving this series! I've read the first three, and can't get to the next one just yet. The wait is killing me. I love that Leonard's your favorite. Throughout the books I go from loving him, to hating him, to loving him again!

    1. Oh dear, this doesn't bode well for my emotions... Well, I just picked up book two from the library today, so I guess we'll find out soon! Thanks for the warning. :)