Beyond the Final Water falling,~ From Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
The Songs of Spheres recalling.
When you find you must pursue that lonely way,
Won’t you return to me?
Tolkien gives the ultimate definition of what fantasy is (or should be). And after him and C.S. Lewis, I have found only one series that have fulfilled that sense of enchantment and joy and longing without compromising quality of prose or the Great Truth. The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.
An AP Lit classmate I had a long time ago told me she read a free copy of the first book, Heartless, on her e-reader and stayed up until the wee hours of the mornin’ to finish it. Always in for a high recommend, I proceeded to purchase a copy of the book and read it. While it was not love at first
sight read, there were some very unique elements of the story that I appreciated and was pleasantly surprised (i.e., totally flipping the Evil Dragon killing princess and the Prince killing Evil Dragon to save princess by – wait – this is a spoiler so hush and go read the book). In all, its telling of the Ultimate Sacrifice is one of a kind. And to be very truthful I did not enjoy the book as a story (probably my utter lack of connection to the said princess/main character contributed to this), but rather certain elements, and certainly the atmosphere/world of the Goldstone Wood hooked me in.
I’ll never tell you to stop loving. You see, I believe in hopeless love. Oh yes. I believe in it with all my heart, though you may discount the heart of an old nanny like me. For real love brings pain. Real love means sacrifices and hurts and all the thousand shocks of life. But it also means beauty, true beauty.
So I proceeded to reading the rest of the series. And allow me to say that Veiled Rose, the second book, and the entire rest of the saga are so much better all around. Characters, world, depth, plot, prose. There is joy and laughter, and a certain Faerie poet who is fully cat yet fully man who simply captures the heart.
“Do you understand, mortal?” Eanrin said. “We Faerie know it’s the spirit that counts, and all else is malleable. Beauty or ugliness; brawn or frailty; height or lack thereof–these appearances can be exchanged with scarcely a thought! But the truth…now, that’s another issue. The truth of the thing, the person behind what you perceive with any of your paltry five senses…Creature of dust, it’s the truth that counts! And you’ll rarely find more truth than in Faerie tales.”
Each book can be read as a standalone, but all contributes amazingly to the series. The concepts are amazing, the storytelling original, the characters are vivdly portrayed. In this world there is true beauty and sorrow. And wisdom. (Plus it’s clean. So double points on that.)
But the tragedy of the matter is, I’ve since noticed that few readers have read or heard of the series.
Thus you can imagine my delight when Maya Joelle invited me to help resolve this situation: to participate in creating and maintaining a sparkling new website – intended for both fans and newcomers to the Tales of Goldstone Wood. (You can click on the images above for more information about the series and author.)
I have the honor and joy to announce that the site newly launched this week!
We, seven fans of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, created this site to analyze characters, explore the world and prose of Goldstone, and invite others to come and feel at home here. For a long time, these books have gone without being well-known, and we’re hoping to change that. So while you’re here, explore the library, read some posts, delight in quotes from these wonderful books, and sign your name in our guestbook. We and others will want to know you’ve visited so that we can say hi… and know that, perhaps, you’re another kindred spirit. We hope you enjoy your stay at our Haven for fans of Goldstone Wood.
Check it out! We have information about the author and series, submission open for for fan art and guest posts, as well as room for you to join in! Also – please feel free to ask us any questions you have about the series.
“Sometimes the worst failures in our lives turn out to be for the best. Sometimes our path leads through darkness, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t walk it. Sometimes our path leads to loss. But that doesn’t mean we’ve gone astray.”
Maya Joelle is a writer, dreamer, bookdragon, poet, forest girl, and sinner saved by grace who loves books, philosophy, and dark chocolate. She blogs at Maya Joelle – the stories are true and at when through the woods.
Lemon Duck (aka Four Misty) likes many things, from fires and volcanoes to the color yellow and art. And, of course, books! She blogs at World of Chronicles.
Hawkeye (aka HawkeyeRules) writes fanfiction, mostly Marvel and Hamilton, and is a fighter for truth and justice and a child of the King. She posts her fanfiction on Archive of Our Own here.
MiddleEarthMusician (aka Mem) is a child of the King who writes, makes music, takes martial arts, creates films, devours stories, geeks out, and calls OYAN home. She blogs at Ink and Page Reviews.
Ellery Maeve loves to read, make strange recipes, play the piano, stretch, drink tea, write letters, try to understand calculus, experiment with and then abandon nearly every craft, and dream about the future — though not usually literal dreaming. She blogs at a wildflower garden (it’s private; if you wish to view it, request on her blog, then comment here and let Maya know I sent you from here. :).
Kendra Lynne is a Christian 17-year-old girl who spends her time in one of four places: in the saddle, at the keyboard, in the kitchen, or more often than not, in Middle Earth and other fictional worlds. She blogs at Story Full.
Yours Truly – (aka C.M.) is an INTJ, freedom fighter, dragon rider, rebel for justice, history buff, truth seeker, dedicated saboteur of the True King, Narnian, 221B Baker Street regular, and traveller of Middle Earth.
“Tell me, cat-man, why can I understand her?”
“First,” said Eanrin with a glower, “you will not call me ‘cat-man’ again. I am a knight, a poet, and a gentleman, and you will address me as sir or not address me at all.”
What are you waiting for? Find your next great read in this series! 🙂 Feel free to drop by our new site and leave a comment.
I am currently re-reading the first book, Heartless, and doing chapter by chapter summaries and analysis notes. For those readers of mine who are looking for a review – it shall be done. In the meantime, a review on a lovely musical shall be coming up tomorrow. 🙂
Thanks for Reading!
Have you read any of the Tales? Are you now interested in this series if you have not? What do you think of the Knights of Farthestshore site?
Who is one contemporary author you esteem as highly as Tolkien and Lewis? I’d love to know! 🙂
“A true name is a powerful thing. Dangerous. Many go through life asleep inside, because no one has ever called their true name. And so, they think themselves safe.”