Saturday, January 26, 2013

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
348 pages 
Provided by Bethany House 
November 2012 

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps the lovely Lady Gleamdren, Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

My Thoughts
I was a bit nervous going into this book because I saw on Goodreads that it was number four in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series. However, it turned out to be a prequel and it turned out alright. There may have been some references that I missed but to the casual reader everything made sense and I loved the story. Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, even as a child, and this one took me back to those joys. Dragons, quests, and enchantments...
This is a great book and I have already picked up the first three on my nook to read in the near future. I loved the poem that this book was based on and had to look it up because Stengl only provided the first stanza. The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson is beautiful and a great poem to base a book around!

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of HEARTLESS, VEILED ROSE, MOONBLOOD, and STARFLOWER, with DRAGONWITCH due to release in 2013. HEARTLESS and VEILED ROSE have each been honored with a Christy Award.

From Anne Elisabeth Stengl "What Ten Books are Sitting Beside Your Bed?"

1. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. I have read this book before, but it was several years ago now. I seem to remember it being my favorite Shannon Hale book, but I can't remember why. So I'm going to find out!

2. Half Magic by Edward Eager. This is a children's book that I have (appropriately enough) only read half of! It was my "break book" when I worked at a Barnes & Noble, and I would tuck myself away in a corner of the store for fifteen minutes at a time to read and be amused. But I never got a chance to finish it! If I remember correctly, it reminded me of Edith Nesbit's work, and I adore Nesbit!

3. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. I'm actually very curious about this novel! I've heard wonderful things about it, but I truly don't know what to expect from the story itself. I received it as a Christmas present this year, and I hope to fall in love with something truly delightful and a little outside my regular reading habits.

4. The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald. This is the sequel to the more famous The Princess and the Goblin by the same author. Another one that I have read, but don't recall. My husband gave me a GORGEOUS hardbound edition for Christmas, so I look forward to rediscovering George MacDonald's magic!

5. Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud. I have read Mr. Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, which wasn't my favorite. But I did really appreciate his unique take on the Boy Wizard idea . . . utterly opposite of anything I read in Harry Potter! I was impressed by him as a writer, so I look forward to trying this book, which waits patiently on my stack of to-be-reads.

6. Her Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. I have heard so many fabulous things about this series, and now my best friend has been telling me they are wonderful as well! My husband received this book for Christmas, so I'm eyeing it on his bedside table. Just as soon as he's done with it . . . .

7. Persuasion by Jane Austen. I always tell people how much I love Jane Austen, but it's been quite a long time since I read any of her work. Do I really love her as much as I think I do? Persuasion was my favorite several years ago, so I'm going to read it again this year and see if it still speaks to me.

8. The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I just read The Perilous Gard by this author and was completely enthralled by it! From what I hear, The Sherwood Ring is even better, so I can hardly wait to pick it up!

9. The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge. One of my writing students has claimed this as one of her favorite books, and it looks like it might be just my sort of read as well! So I'm hoping to find a copy and lose myself in a new author and a new world sometime this year.

10. Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers. This is the one piece of non-fiction on my list, but I expect it to be a particularly good one. Ms. Sayers discusses doctrine and theology in the context of creative writing. I have heard wonderful things about this book, and I really enjoy Sayers's fiction, so I hope to get my hands on a copy of Mind of the Maker before too much longer.


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