Veiled Rose

Title: Veiled Rose: Tales of Goldstone Wood #2
Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
paperback, 384 pages
ISBN: 0764207822 (ISBN-13: 9780764207822)
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.
Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.
But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find?
Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?

Last year I had the privilege of reviewing the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. I fell in-love with the fantasy world Stengl created. When the second book in the series, Veiled Rose, was released I knew right away that I wanted to read it.
Veiled Rose is an epic fantasy where dragons are feared, beauty is praised and things are not what they appear to be. This story is centered around two main characters. Leo made an appearance in Heartless. In this book we learn all about Leo's history from the time that he's a boy. He's a precocious lad ready to take on the world despite his fears. While visiting his cousin for the summer he vows to slay the monster that lives in the mountains. While traipsing through the woods he meets a young girl, Rose Red.  Rose Red is covered from head to toe. She is a mystery. However these two become fast friends and share many adventures together. 
I liked learning more about Leo. In Veiled Rose Stengl gives more of an insight into his character. I felt that I understood his motivations a lot more in this novel. Leo has some really good qualities but he also has some really annoying qualities as well. I like the relationship between Leo and Rose a lot. It seemed that the only time his character was authentic was when he was with her. Rose was the one who wore the physical veil but Leo is the one hiding behind a metaphorical veil. I really liked the mystery behind Rose Red. Her appearance is a complete mystery. Her only friends are a goat, the man she calls father and her imaginary prince until she meets Leo. You can tell from the beginning that Rose Red is no ordinary girl. She possesses    strength, courage and inner beauty.
 Rose Red is plagued my nightmares. She dreams of a mysterious man that claims to be her friend. He desires just one kiss from her. He uses everything in his power to persuade her. He is the protagonist in this novel and is cunningly evil. As he sets out to get what he wants, he destroys everything in his path. Stengl has created a truly deplorable character. Evil is just a game to him.
The story line in this novel is good. It has a religious undertone with many poignant themes. The adventure that Rose Red and Leo have to embark on help shape their characters. I love seeing the character growth with these two characters. Veiled Rose is a fast paced, well written novel. It had me hooked from beginning to end. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

My rating:

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Other Books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl:

Veiled Rose
Moonblood (coming April 2012)

*I received this book from the publisher for review purposes only. This in no way influenced my opinion.