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A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold

(The Family of Night #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  69 reviews
For six hundred years I have dwelt in this prison. Trapped. Helpless. Unliving and undying.

For six hundred years I have watched as cursebreakers come and go. Brave young women all, gifted with powers beyond mortal understanding.

I have watched them die. I have watched them wish to die.

Once again the Family of Night invades this country to claim its dues, and this gene
Kindle Edition, 604 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Rooglewood Press (first published March 2016)
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Anna Catherman It tells a complete story, but also sets up future stories which sadly aren't going to be written anytime soon. The author is now writing other series…moreIt tells a complete story, but also sets up future stories which sadly aren't going to be written anytime soon. The author is now writing other series under a pen name, due to a variety of life and publishing circumstances.(less)
Jill It is a loose retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."…moreIt is a loose retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."(less)

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H.S.J. Williams
Before there can be a beginning, there must first be an end.

It was a sad day for fans when Anne Elisabeth declared she must pause the Tales of Goldstone Wood series for a few years….it seemed new journeys into the Between were at an end, at least for a time. But lo and behold, a new beginning awaited! The first book of a four part series set WITHIN Goldstone Wood….not part of the series itself, but part of the very same world. So what joy, what excitement!

For me, it did not disappoint. True, th
I cried ... again. Don't I always with Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novels? A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold, the first book to her new series, THE FAMILY OF NIGHT, was no different for me. It made me cry. And it was mind-blowingly amazing, of course!

This epic new novel from Anne Elisabeth is fantasy, like her other books. In fact, it even takes us to the Woods Between, and the beautiful Starflower's lovely Haven (if you didn't know, these are both from TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD). So these two seri
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
I'm a bit questionable about this some ways I really enjoyed it, but then there was a lot that turned me off.

I especially didn't like how things turned out with Ben.

I don't know...I think the only way I can explain it is that I finished the book but didn't feel complete or that something was lacking.

Maybe there will be another book to see what happens next.
Have you ever read a book that was so utterly satisfying that when you finished it you closed it, sighed happily and hugged the book? That was this book for me. (I'm not even joking, I seriously did hug this book.)

This review will not contain much detail about the actual story because I am afraid to spoil people, and being able to go into this story completely blind, not having anything but the vaguest idea of the general plot premise was part of the magic of it for me. I was able to let it comp
Katie Grace
I'm really disappointed. I absolutely LOVEEEED all of Anne's other books. But the characters fell flat for me in this one. It seem to move so, so slowly, and I was bored most of the time. The beginning seemed random and a lot of unnecessary conversations could have been cut. *shrug* Just my opinion. I wanted to like this book. :/
// 1.5
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars

When it comes to pleasure reading, Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a favorite. I'm not normally a huge fantasy reader (although over the past couple of years I find that I'm definitely being converted into one) but her Tales of Goldstone Wood novels were, aside from C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien's works, a major hook getting me into the genre. Heartless was the first modern fantasy that I actually enjoyed.

Her books are so deliciously thick, with layers of meaning to ponder and contemplate. Lo
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anne Elisabeth has created a book with amazing characters. I couldn't help liking all the main characters, hating the despicable ones and feeling sorry for others.
The plot was intriguing and unputdownable. A bit creepy at times, but I like that.

All together, it was an excellent book and probably my favourite by the author.
(Just saying, I loved the Sylph :) )
Tricia Mingerink
I just finished this book a few minutes ago. I'm shell-shocked. Awestruck. It's just...I feel like I've stepped back into the mortal realm from faerie and I still can't see straight.

Like all of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's books, this one started off slow. I didn't particularly like Heloise at first. I wasn't sure I'd like it.

Then, I did. Not sure when it happened. Some time between mirror magic and silver and gold forests, it happened. The book builds and builds until I spent this evening reading
Savannah Jezowski
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is so very close to a five star review: I loved so much about it. There was just the right amount of humor and spook to make the story deliciously engaging without being too much of either. I loved, loved, LOVED the sylph and Benedict. They were fantastically done. Some of the best characters I have encountered in a long while. Heloise took a little longer to warm up to, which is very common for strong, flawed heroines, but in the end I loved her strength and spirit and relationship wi ...more
Bryn Riplinger-Shutt
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
2018 reread ~ I felt a little friendlier to this book the second time through. The theme caught me a little harder and drew me in a little deeper. I still struggled with my complaints from my original review, but eh, let's just settled the strait and go for four stars.

Three stars or four? I'm still in a strait betwixt which to choose. I have actually never read the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, so was able to dive into Anne Elisabeth Stengl's latest release with just the joyous expect
Serethiel Sequoia
4.5 stars

This book was absolutely amazing. And, *sighs*, Anne Elisabeth has such a gift for worldbuilding. :)
Ashley Stangl
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, retellings
This book is billed as a loose retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." It's also tied into another fantasy series, "The Tales of Goldstone Wood." I've read lots of retellings of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", and none of the Goldstone Wood books, so I was simultaneously on familiar and foreign ground--rather like the book's heroine, now that I think about it.

For a "loose" retelling, it has far more pieces of the original fairy tale than I expected. All the necessary elements, like the g
Review to come! (maybe)
Update: Reread May 5-6, 2019. Still an excellent book. I had less patience with the beginning than I did before; Heloise kind of rubbed me the wrong way there. But I enjoyed the ending more this time around. Glad I reread it; certainly will again.


When I heard that Anne Elisabeth Stengl was releasing a loose retelling of one of my favorite fairytales of all time, Twelve Dancing Princesses, I was naturally ecstatic. It seemed there was no way A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold could not
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Wowzers. I am pretty sure I burned calories reading this book. It was so intense.

Heloise, a spunky peasant girl lives a regular life full of routine and predictable events. But when she wakes up on the morning of her 14th birthday, everything changes. She suddenly finds herself whisked away on a frightening adventure where she discovers a doorway into a different world. A world which somehow holds power over her and her loved ones. When her sister, Evette, disappears during an enchanted dance, i
Clara Thompson
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a master of world building, which many of her fans (myself included) have witnessed time and time again throughout her Goldstone Wood series. This is a new book which doesn't veer too far away from the Path of the Wood, but is just different enough to satisfy any cravings for a fresh look at Stengl's writing.

A Branch of Silver a Branch of Gold is beautiful. It's hilarious. It's great fun, but most of all, it still has that deep message each book written by Stengl possess
Ella J.
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anne Elisabeth Stengl is one of my all time favorite writers. This is the last book she has written, which I didn't get to read when it first came out, but have now finally read.
This book was nothing like I expected it would be, but it in a really great way! I thought that this was a stand alone 12 dancing princesses retelling. It is actually the first book in a Tales of GoldstoneWood spin-off series, that is only loosely based on the fairytale.

I loved that this book showed a different side of t
Kristen Kooistra
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well-written and vibrantly "alive". I could really feel like I was in the story and found the motivations and situation of Heloise to be something I could relate too. I felt bad for poor Benedict since she never really seemed to properly appreciate him or be especially kind.

But I had a hard time putting this down because the plot was so engaging. There's a thread of danger throughout that comes through nicely and I definitely felt like Heloise was on the edge of not making it.
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit I was wary when getting this...


I mean, some fairytale retellings are really well done, and others are... well. They're kind of average and predictable. However, as you can tell from the premise Goodreads so gives us, A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold really is loosely based on the fairytale.

I've only read one book by Stengl before, it was OK, and passed the time. This book is absolutely fantastic. Her writing, although I'm sure has improved over time, fits perfectly in this book. It'
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A two-word summary: Fairly Cool. There was the 'fairly' parts that weren't as good as the rest, but overall I LOVED it. I will never look at mirrors the same way again.

The characters were pretty good. At times some didn't feel quite realistic but most of the story they were okay. Benedict was a favourite, though I was getting concerned that he wouldn't survive to the end. His whole attitude to everything was so cool, and I just loved him. Heloise was a grouchy kind of character but nicely not-pe
Beth Hudson
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be beautiful, haunting, and layered with emotion and evocative imagery. It is quite seriously, in my opinion, one of the two best books I have read this year. In other words – I love it. Somehow it drew my eye out of a great number of books that I have entered a giveaway for, and though I did not win the giveaway, I felt moved to look up the book and read it. I am so glad that I did.

The story is simple on the surface, but like most of the books I love, there are undercurrent
Stephanie Ricker
I am in love with Stengl's characterization. While there were many aspects of this book that I savored (it's certainly the best retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses that I've ever read), the characters were my favorite part. Heloise is brilliant, and the interactions between all of the characters are incredibly lifelike. The contradictory nature of the love-hate bond between the sisters was spot-on, and even the character who initially seemed relatively bland (Evette) turned out to be mult ...more
J.A. Penrose
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy this book, it(alike to most books) was rather predictable, aside from the end. The bond between the sisters and the double meaning of the quest made the side path possibly more interesting then the villains, who were helping her succeed.

I liked the magic in normality concept (The hilarious Sylph, "Yes... No... Maybe?") Although I was confused by the character changes in the start.
This book reminded me vaguely of Alice in the Looking Glass, but was good nonetheless.
Over all, it
Lauren Beauchamp
These books just keep getting better! When, oh when will the sequel come out? (No worries, it's not a cliffhanger type ending, but I want more Heloise!)

I loved the main character right from the start. She's strong and opinionated and knows her own mind. And the relationship between the sisters was beautiful and heartbreaking.

And Benedict. I love Benedict!

As this is a spin-off series, I think it could be a great starter book for those who haven't read the main series.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I felt like I had to plod through most of the over-wrought and many times confusing and convoluted plot just to see what happened at the end. This book is quite lengthy and I feel it could have been a much more enjoyable read had it been edited down quite a bit. The main character was tough and real and she was probably the only reason I stayed slightly interested. I might consider looking into the sequal but if it drags on like this one did I will probably abandon it before I finish.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Such an enjoyable new tale set in the familiar but always different Wood in Between. These new characters were spectacular and I can't wait to explore the rest of the series! ...more
Ahhhhhh!!! I need this! I hope it will be available in paper back too.
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
4.5 stars
Anna Catherman
Simply put, A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold is a beautiful novel.
It is a high fantasy fairy tale, inspired by an old story (The Twelve Dancing Princesses), full of lovely prose. It has lords and ladies, kings and queens; faeries which range from menacing to motherly; and a most unlikely cast of heroes and heroines. Heloise, a 14-year-old peasant girl wracked by guilt and her parents' frequently dismissive attitude toward her; Cerise, her elderly grandmother, who most think is crazy but is,
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, fantasy
First of all, I'm very sad that the other books in the series are not yet released. While this isn't a cliff-hanger per se, it left me wanting to know what happens next.
This was certainly a wild ride. I loved every minute of the book. The witty banter, the graphic descriptions, the sassiness of Heloise and the silliness of Benedict.
I knew Dr. Dupont was bad news!
The twists and turns throughout will keep you guessing about who's on whose side.
Seriously an amazing book! Don't miss it!!
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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 TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOO ...more

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