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(Tales of Goldstone Wood #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  3,202 ratings  ·  487 reviews
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
Paperback, 363 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
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Jill Most of the books can be read as stand-alones, but understanding and appreciation of the world grows as you read the books in order. The books also gr…moreMost of the books can be read as stand-alones, but understanding and appreciation of the world grows as you read the books in order. The books also grow deeper and better-written as the series progresses. If you pick up a book from the middle of the series, say DRAGONWITCH, you can simply enjoy the story and the characters of that particular book, and the main characters are unique to that story. But the world as a whole and some carry-over characters will be more enjoyable if you have read the series through. Best stand-alone books: DRAGONWITCH, GOLDEN DAUGHTER, STARFLOWER, and HEARTLESS. The other three are more dependent on earlier books in the series (although some people think VEILED ROSE is a better starting place than HEARTLESS).
Hope this helps!(less)
Anna Catherman I would say so. It's a bit dark - dragons are present and at times the destruction they cause is chronicled in a chilling, but not grotesque, manner. …moreI would say so. It's a bit dark - dragons are present and at times the destruction they cause is chronicled in a chilling, but not grotesque, manner. There's no crude language or sexual content. There is a very strong romance element, but I'm not sure I'd call it a straight-up romance. (less)

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R.F. Gammon
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to R.F. Gammon by: Christine Smith
Re-Read #4:

"You are my chosen love, the only one for me."


RE-READ 2018:

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of how much I need my Savior.

Sometimes I need a reminder of how useless my efforts to save myself are, and the fact that I could not do it even if I tried.

That I'd reject him if he hadn't loved me first.

I need to remind myself that Jesus' love for me is not because I'm perfect or anything like that...but because HE is, and because HE chose me.

I don't know how much of an /allegor
I love fairy tales. I love their deceptive simplicity, the darkness at the heart of them, the violence that coils below the surface, the painted prettiness of the words. So when I see a book that has a fairy tale-style narrative, I get very excited. Sometimes, my hopes are justified, as with The Near Witch. Sometimes, they are horribly disappointed, as with Heartless.

This book took me three days to finish, and it wasn’t even all that long! I couldn’t justify DNF-ing it, because it wasn’t terribl
Erica (storybookend)
Alright, I loved it :) It’s not a brilliant, epic fantasy novel. But it is beautiful, with a more quiet enchantment, that won’t latch onto everyone who reads it, but it did me, just not in an earth shattering way. I read this a year ago as an arc, and I really liked it then, but I could tell it needed another revision, sharpen up the writing a little, connect the scenes better perhaps. I don’t know how much changed from that early draft I read, I don’t think a whole lot, but for some reason I li ...more
H.S.J. Williams

The front cover was what caught my interest, not the summary. When I finally 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 feels 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, whether they know it or not, have a lot i
Tomoe Hotaru
Well tear my brains out and strike me blind! Aren't I the dumbest reader in the world? I finished Heartless and read a few reviews and ... ... this was supposed to be a Christian allegory?? Now that I know better, --wait, no. It's still not obvious to me. The twelve men sent out by Prince Lionheart to help Aethelbald? Were they supposed to symbolize the 12 disciples? Because ... apart from the fact there being twelve of them, nothing else really struck me as similar. Well, they left Aethelbald t ...more
Elizabeth Dragina
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars ~


Why did it take me so long to finally pick this book up???

(Okay, so that was a rhetorical question, because I know why. 😂)

I really enjoyed this book. It was relaxing and whimsical with lots of action and humor packed in between. It took me a long time to connect with the characters though. :p

I didn't realize this was Christian Fantasy or I would have picked it up sooner. ^.^ I loved the allegorical vibes and the fantasy realm.

One thing that really weirded me out though was
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I first discovered Heartless when I was doing an online search for Christian fantasy books one day. Admittedly, the beautiful cover was the first thing that drew me to it, but once I started investigating the series, I became seriously curious about the story. Now that I've read Heartless, I have to say that I loved it, and I don't think the story synopsis on the back cover does it justice. The synopsis makes it sound like it's going to be a light, fluffy read, and for about the first half of th ...more
Grace Morris
4.5 Stars! This book is gold, and I loved it so much!

Here's the thing guys, I just got this book from the library and told my Dad that it has a dragon and a princess and has wonderful humor. (That's what I got from the reviews I've read). That's what I told him; that was all the synopsis needed; he started reading the book before I could even get my hands on it.

Molly Evangeline
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
As most of my book reviews and blog posts can attest to, I am huge fan of Christian fantasy so I’ve been looking forward to reading Heartless for a long time. At last I had a chance to get it and read it.

When I first started reading, Heartless didn’t grab me like some books. I had a difficult time liking Una. She’s pretty much a spoiled, whiny princess, which is actually great for the beginning of a book because it sets up for a lot of great character growth, but I need to feel something for the
Age Appropriate For: 13 and up for violence and some fantasy elements
Best for Ages: 13 and up

Every few months, I get the urge to read a fantasy. Well, I got the urge and decided to read Heartless which has been on my to-read list for a long time. I was expecting a cute little story with romance. Instead, I was blown away by a powerful allegory.

At first, I thought I was going to hate Una through the whole book. She starts out very selfish and irritating, yet she was a fascinating character. I thi
Serethiel Sequoia
I need to reread this.

'Tis utterly amazing, and such a beautiful, classic Christian fantasy.

That is all. <3
Kate Willis
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the darkest book I have ever read. The fantasy element was chilling and nightmarish, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because it’s an allegory of sin, misplaced love, and redemption, there is no other way to portray how helpless our state is.

At first glance, it’s an unnecessarily magical story with an irritating, shallow protagonist. Una was all about appearances, looking for a dashing prince. She was irritable toward her brother and downright rude to any suitors who didn’t fit her
Oh my word.......THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!!!!! Why have I not read it before now?!?!

If you were to ask me why I love this book so much, I honestly couldn't tell you why. This entire book was so beautiful and very well written. I loved the allegory in it too.

Also can I just say that I got very frustrated with Una at multiple points in this, but then realized how similar we all are to her. We all seek after the "lovers" we think we love when really Aethelbald a.k.a Jesus Christ is there offering u
A unique, heart-rending, Christian allegory. Fantasy & fairy tale. I need to read Heartless again!
Brooke Barenfanger
Exceptional allegory. The language is vivid and colorful, drawing the reader into the enchantment the book offers. The plot is simple, yet saturated with meaning. Making a world out of pure imagination is a daunting task. Stengl is very adept at it, leaving no holes that I can see. Goldstone Wood feels real.I try to get each book of hers that comes out as quickly as I can. Each one of her books has been a beautiful masterpiece, leaving the reader aching for more.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya, christian
--Book Description--
Princess Una of Parumvir has turned 18 years old, and princes and nobles from neighboring kingdoms are coming to court her. The first prince, Aethelbald, arrives with a magical faerie market. Una resents his interference when he removes her from a situation she doesn't realize is dangerous, plus she finds him too practical. What she wants is a prince who will sing love songs about her beauty. The next prince to arrive does just that, but she's disappointed when reality still
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fairy tales and fantasy books are not usually the types of books I reach for, but every once in a while, it’s good to branch out from the usual and see what Christian writers in different genres are writing about. Once again this is a debut novel, and debut novels are my favorites. Now Heartless is among my favorites. This book is vibrant and colorful and full of interesting characters in a world that comes straight from the author’s active imagination.

I have been going through a stressful tim
Stargazer R. L.
This book is EPIC. I loved it. LOVED it.

I don't think I have ever enjoyed a book so much. I find it hard to truly enjoy many books because they're so tense and frightening and every moment of them I'm worried that my favorite character will fall over dead. But there was something about Heartless that felt safe and friendly, yet full of danger and excitement--my favorite type of story. I enjoyed every minute of it.

I really liked the Christian aspect of the book. I could see it, but it was part o
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves fantasy, fairy tales, and romance.
Heartless is beautifully perfect and perfectly beautiful. The characters are colorful, lifelike, and beautifully imperfect, especially Una. There are very few characters who I've felt as close to as Una. Prince Aethelbald is also amazing- there's no way I can even begin to express how much I love him. As for the Dragon- well, I have yet to meet a villain who can equal him. The plot is deceptively simple: a princess searching for her prince and threatened by a dragon. Even a few chapters in, thou ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written story. I especially enjoyed the allegory of Aethelbald, representing Christ’s love for us, even after we reject him and fall to our lowest points in life. I thought the author did a wonderful job showing how Una’s shallow choices led her down a tragic road.

I loved the dragon imagery and thought the author created a nice balance with enough suspense to keep moving the story forward.

If you enjoy the fantasy genre but are looking for something with a meaningful messa
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a masterpiece, and that's all there is to it.

Only C.S. Lewis is comparable.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had seen the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, online before, but hadn't been much interested. Then an author friend recommended the series, so I decided to pick them up. So far, I have read the first book, Heartless, and I am glad I did so, because it is really good.

As the story begins, a young prince and princess, as little children, are playing near what is believed to be an enchanted woods when they come across a dirty cat who is missing both of his eyes. The boy, F
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

“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
Carmel Elizabeth
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The only fantasy I have read before this book was C.S. Lewis and a little Tolkien. But with the persuasion of two respected blog friends and a determined sister, I picked it up. (Okay, so I actually got the series for Christmas. But hush, those are meaningless details.)

My first thought was "I really like this writing style." But that was before I was swept into Anne Elisabeth Stengl's marvelous world of allegory. Have I ever mentioned that I really like allegory? Well, now you know.

In reading s
J.L. Mbewe
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ve ...more
Grace Mullins
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK. Almost 10 years since I first read it, and just finished rereading yesterday. I LOVE it. Just the whole thing about being loved no matter what is just so beautiful. It is such a lovely representation of Christ's love for everyone. 💜 ...more
Morgan Busse
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I thought it was a great picture of how selfish we are and how God still pursues us and loves us.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Princess Una has just come of age, and is expecting suitors to start lining up at her door immediately. However, the first prince who comes calling is so contrary to her imagined perfect prince and visions of romance that she rebuffs his offer of marriage without even considering the man who is asking.

When rumors of something terrible and dangerous that has taken over a neighboring kingdom start to reach the ears of Una and her family, the spoiled princess does not dream that these whispers coul
Jun 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: teen, fiction, 2012, kindle
It's not often that I come across a book that I really couldn't stand to read (of course, most of the time it's because I'm able to flip to the end - with my Kindle, unfortunately, I had to read through it if I wanted to know the ending). Unfortunately, "Heartless" falls into this category.

None of the characters were likable, especially Princess Una. She was rude, shallow, and juvenile, with absolutely no redeeming qualities. She's not very intelligent, courageous, or kind, and this doesn't cha
Ashlee Willis
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lovely, gently-told fairytale with a classic, powerful truth at heart. Stengl's style is both flowing and attention-grabbing, making this book such a quick and easy read. I couldn't seem to put it down, myself :)

It's a fantasy with a princess, prince, knights and dragons... All the classic elements are there, but there is such a refreshing and NEW feel to it, and there's a much deeper meaning beneath for those who care to see it, making it a tale that will stay with you long after you've put t
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Imps of Goldstone...: Heartless Read-Through 2017 51 24 Apr 08, 2017 12:20PM  
The "Intentional"...: Heartless by Stengl 1 4 Feb 17, 2017 04:03PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Nov 20, 2014 01:20PM  
¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 3 Oct 22, 2014 01:24PM  
Translation to Spanish, why not? 1 5 Jul 07, 2014 04:00PM  
North Carolina Go...: H is for Heartless 1 5 Jun 09, 2014 04:02PM  
~Young Adult Enth...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Reviews 2 9 Sep 05, 2013 04:36AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Tales of Goldstone Wood (8 books)
  • Veiled Rose (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #2)
  • Moonblood (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #3)
  • Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #4)
  • Dragonwitch (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #5)
  • Shadow Hand (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #6)
  • Golden Daughter (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #7)
  • Fallen Star (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #7.6)

News & Interviews

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
162 likes · 60 comments
“If a man has to ask for your trust, it's a sure sign that you should not give it. Trust should be earned inherently, without any verbal demands. Trust is knowing a man's character, knowing truth, and relying on that character and truth even when the odds seem against you.” 79 likes
“I listened long to your story,
Listened but could not hear.
When you chose to walk that path so overgrown,
I remained alone with my fear.

Cold silence covers the distance,
Stretches from shore to shore.
I follow in my mind your far-off journeying,
But I will walk that path no more.”
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