Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CFBA: Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Song Stuck on the Brain: Heartless by Kris Allen

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Bethany House (July 1, 2010)


Anne Elisabeth Stengl


What a fantastic debut! Stengl blew me away with Heartless. Although it's obvious that the story is very allegorical in nature, it was told in a way that didn't throw me out of the story line by it's heavy handedness. Not always an easy thing to do. Prince Aethelbald was an obvious favorite for me from the very first moment his very "stodgy" self appeared. I appreciate a man with his traits. And yet I couldn't help but remember what it felt like to be in Una's head with all her romantic fairytale notions. I'm not sure any of us truly out grow those fantasies, but her journey to understand the worth of true love is a story well worth reading and taking to heart. Especially as it compares to our journey to find Jesus and the true love He offers.

Her representation of evil and dragons were truly unique to me as well. I've never seen dragons represented in quite this form and I applaud her creativity. This book is so worth reading. I adore fantasy, but I really believe that this can be appreciated by those outside the typical fan base.


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. When Una makes the wrong choice, catastrophe ensues for the princess and her family, and love, courage, and trust are needed when darkness engulfs the kingdom.

Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

There are some delightful things and scenes: the Twelve-Year Market that appears in its own good time and sells fairy goods; a clever blind cat who is invariably underfoot and has, of course, a secret!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Heartless, go HERE.


Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

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