Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood #4)
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Published November 1, 2012
The entire court of immortal faeries is distraught when beloved and beautiful Lady Gleamdren is kidnapped by a fearsome dragon-witch. Two of her most devoted admirers race to her rescue, and the Bard Eanrin is determined to be first to reach his ladylove. On his journey he encounters a human girl locked in a spell of sleep and finds he cannot simply leave the unlucky mortal to her fate.
Eanrin wakes Starflower from her sleep, intent upon sending her on her way, but the maiden knows little of the treacherous Wood. As she accompanies Eanrin on his quest, a deep connection emerges between the girl and the dragonwitch. It may be Starflower alone who can rescue Gleamdren and battle an ancient dark power.
Fans of the Tales of Goldstone Wood will recognize Eanrin as the wise and mischievous cat who often kept company with the Princess Una in Heartless, the first novel in the series. Starflower predates Heartless and tells the tale of a much younger and more, often humorously, self-centered Eanrin and adding still more depth and breadth to the already rich and lustrous story world Stengl has created.
Starflower is a tale of love, not strictly romantic love, but of the journey toward choosing to put others first, to risk losing total autonomy, and to show love to others even when they are not outwardly deserving of it. It is the fourth book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series and was just named a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award. The fifth book, Dragonwitch, will be released in the summer of 2013.
Starflower’s people are under a curse and cannot speak. To remove the curse, she has to learn to love her enemies. Over and over through the story, characters are challenged to love others at expense to their own desires or safety.
References to a dog being beaten by its owner. A girl is surrounded by young men who mean her harm (she is not injured). Two dogs fight. References to human sacrifices. A man is killed saving his daughter. These scenes are short and do not contain a high level of detail.