Wow, normally fantasy allegory is not a genre I enjoy. But Anne Elisabeth writes it with a twist like none other! I couldn't put it down.
The world of Goldstone wood is one of the most complex and layered storyworlds I have ever come across in fantasy. It is huge and ever-expanding with so much more depth, and history, and characters that you could believe. Every book in the series is better than the last!
Anne Elisabeth's writing style is unusual and reminiscent of older classic fairy tales. It is a bit hard to get used to at first, but hang in there! Because once you catch onto her unique and beautiful style it is one incredible ride and well worth the time.
One thing I've noticed is how many reviewers seem to hate Una. Maybe these folks just don't like her because she's a little too real. Yes, she's selfish, she's stubborn, she's a dreamer, always looking for something newer, brighter, more appealing. She's totally unsatisfied and missing out on the good and wonderful things (and people) that are right under her nose.
She's just like you and me.
Personally, I love Una. And I love how Anne Elisabeth breathes life into these beautiful, broken characters. Her characters may be far from perfect, and their endings may be too, but in the end, that is what makes their story so much more meaningful.
In this allegory, Una is a representation of the modern day church and it's faults. It is a story about How God pursues us relentlessly, calling us back to him, and to show that no matter how vile we can become God still loves us and is waiting to claim us as his.
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 very well.
Una is princess of Parumvir and she is anxious to be sought by nobility who desire her hand in marriage. But all too soon Una gets her heart's desire in the form of three very different suitors. But little does Una realize that her choice will determine not only her future but also the fate of her very soul.
When Prince Aethelbard of Farthestshore declares his love to Una and his desire to marry her she refuses him. Then Prince Gervais of Beauclair seeks her hand, as does her father's old childhood acquaintance the Duke of Shippening. But only to Leonard - Prince Lionheart of the Southlands does she give her heart. But Leonard is a prince in hiding and only to Una does he reveal his true identity.
Having touched a dragon's scale Una and the kingdom of Parumvir are in danger, but Aethelbard's warnings fall on deaf ears. When the very dragon they were warned of comes upon them unaware King Fidel and Prince Felix may lose their very lives trying to save Una from her fate.
But love is the only way to save Una, a sacrificial love. But whom among Una's suitors would be willing to die for her and to give up their heart so that she might be saved? Or will Una be Heartless for the rest of her life?
Heartless is a lovely allegory of love and sacrifice. True love is only true if it is given for no personal gain.