CFBA Tour: Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Heartless from Bethany House (July 1, 2010) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl


Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she is 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.


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.

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

ANDREA’S COMMENTS:  I truthfully only posted this one to fulfill my obligations to the book tour. The storyline itself is lovely and magical, but I feel I am not the right person to review the book as I absolutely hate the storytelling methods employed, which are antiquated and certainly not timeless (albeit the plot is inspired by the symbolic version of the greatest story ever told and itself merits that descriptor.) I personally found this aspect a publishing travesty that risks discouraging young writers from bothering to learn their craft–why do the hard work to learn modern techniques like staying in Point of View and show, don’t tell when Bethany house’s editors decided to not do their jobs and allow one author to do it the old fashioned way? And a new one at that. She hasn’t earned the right to write however she pleases yet, and, for her sake I hope this mistake on her publisher’s part doesn’t hurt her. The book only proved the reasons for the rules–the old techniques are very self conscious, constantly drawing readers’ attention to the fact we are reading and jarring us out of the story. The author is wonderful at characterization and her skill there compensates for the following problem some, but such head hopping is very distancing. This book is good–but with proper editing,  it could have been great.

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