Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shadow Hand

Shadow Hand is the sixth book in the fantasy series Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

As I’ve said numerous times before while reviewing this series, it’s definitely a good idea to read these books in order. Though the time periods jump around a little, it’ll help to keep things more clear – which I’ve struggled with, as the books have not come to me in order.

So, you’ll want to first read Heartless, then Veiled Rose, Moonblood (review to come in July), Starflower, Dragonwitch and finally Shadow Hand. The below review will have some slight spoilers from earlier books, so tread carefully!

After Lionheart, Prince of the Southlands, was dispossessed and banished, Lady Daylily is now betrothed to his cousin Foxbrush, who has taken his place in the kingdom.

Lady Daylily had come to love Lionheart – a love that never seemed to be returned – and now a life with Foxbrush seems to foretell a life just like him – awkward and reclusive.

On the day of Lady Daylily’s wedding she flees to the dangerous Wilderlands – with the intention of never returning.

Yet, Foxbrush cares for Daylily and is determined to rescue her – though the thought of entering the Wood – in which there are rumored magical creatures, brutal Faeries, and myth come to life, all of which fights Foxbrush’s logical, rational mind – is terrifying to him.

But if Foxbrush is to be king – should he not learn to be courageous?

There is a ton more plot to Shadow Hand than this brief synopsis describes, but that’s just a taste of the beginning.

Eloquent phrasing pulled me into Shadow Hand – into this vast fairytale universe that Stengl has grown and strengthened over these six interwoven novels. The Tales of Goldstone Wood are always captivating, delicately and intricately layered and full of stunning depth.

Shadow Hand, along with the rest of the series, is impossible (for me, anyway) to speed read – you HAVE to slow down and absorb the writing and story. There’s a sophistication, imagination, suspense and romance that is happily original here.

Most definitely complex, both in plot and characters, and I always feel like I’m missing some vital info – but I look forward to rereading the entire series someday – when I have the time to give it my undivided attention.

Shadow Hand has humor, whimsy and gorgeously penned myth and legend – with a frightening darkness and evil that creates an excellent Good vs. Evil intensity.

Personally, Eanrin and Imraldera are two of my favorite characters – and I hope we continue to see more of them as the series continues. I won’t say what my wishes are for those two, though anyone who reads the Tales of Goldstone Wood could probably guess!

Shadow Hand
, by its final pages, had given me goose bumps! Surprisingly touching and powerful, with a Christian allegorical whisper in many of its lines, I loved it.

I want more.

The good news? More is coming!!!

*I received a copy of Shadow Hand from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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