Friday, April 22, 2011

“Una”, he said, and put out an arm to block her path. Aethelbald did not touch her, but she few back as though bitten. “I love you, Una”, he said. “I will return to ask for your hand. In the meanwhile, please do not give your heart away.” The next moment he was gone.

Book: Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Bethany House Publishers, 2010
Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood) 
Genre: Fantasy/Allegory
Target Audience: Girls 13+
Subjects: Love, romance, family relationships, sin
Summary: Give her heart away is exactly what Una intends to do. She has dreamed of romance for years and is now old enough to have suitors coming to call. Three of them in fact. The question is which one to choose. Some seem romantic, some scare her, some are hiding secrets, some are loyal, some are willing to betray her. Only one truly loves her. But how can a romantic dreamer see through the outside to find what’s truly on the inside? Soon her choices lead her entire family into great danger as a dragon comes calling as well. Una must make extremely difficult decisions in order to save herself and her father and brother.
Notes: This book seems to be an allegory with one of the suitors sort of representing Christ. It’s blurry and hard to tell. Here are the hints of the allegory: characters must die in order to be saved from evil. And the one potential Christ figure loves willingly and freely by choice rather than by returned affections or any kind of selfish motives. He has a separate kingdom not quite accessible by humans. However, he is portrayed as a human wanting to marry Una, has limited power, and does not appear to be any kind of ultimate being or have ultimate authority. There is no book of ultimate authority either. So it may just be a fantasy story designed to teach a couple of allegorical concepts: dying to sin and being deeply loved and chosen. There is nothing overly descriptive about sin or relationships so the book certainly contains nothing inappropriate. This is the first in a series called Tales of Goldstone Wood, each book appearing to be about new characters in the same world.
Recommendation Scale: 4/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.


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