Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review: A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I'm here to review (at last) another one of the brilliant Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novels! This one is the first of her new series, THE FAMILY OF NIGHT.

But hey, before you check it out, be sure to read my Hidden Gems post spotlighting Anne Elisabeth's (and Regency Historical Romance author, Julianne Donaldson's) novels! And enter the giveaway at the bottom of mentioned post for a used copy of either Heartless {TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD #1} or Edenbrooke {A PROPER ROMANCE #1}!

Now, I am super thrilled to present my review of A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold!

Purchase HERE

Title: A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold

Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Series: The Family of Night #1

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling

Audience: Young Adult/Adult


A Ghost Trapped in a Tower. A Peasant Girl. A Curse Six Hundred Years Old ...

For six hundred years I have dwelt in this prison. Trapped. Helpless. Unliving and undying.

For six hundred years I have watched as cursebreakers come and go. Brave young women all, gifted with powers beyond mortal understanding.

I have watched them die. I have watched them wish to die.

Once again the Family of Night invades this country to claim its dues, and this generation’s cursebreaker has her chance to break the endless chain of torment. To save me. To save her sisters.

But how can a peasant child scarcely fourteen years of age discover the three-part key and liberate the captives? Will she too be doomed to join the Death Dance binding us all to the Family of Night?

**5 stars**

I cried ... again. Don't I always with Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novels? A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold, the first book to her new series, THE FAMILY OF NIGHT, was no different for me. It made me cry. And it was mind-blowingly amazing, of course!

This epic new novel from Anne Elisabeth is fantasy, like her other books. In fact, it even takes us to the Woods Between, and the beautiful Starflower's lovely Haven (if you didn't know, these are both from TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD). So these two series connect! Which is absolutely delightful! I was missing TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD a great deal, and so was beyond happy to find so many familiar things and people and places in A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold. This new novel is also a fairy tale retelling. It retells The Twelve Dancing Princesses in a wild and original way. We follow the journey of a fourteen-year-old peasant girl named Heloise, and a dying noble called Benedict ... and hear the giggles of a silly, mad sylph ... and watch the dreadful dance of night ... and all those complex, intriguing things!

As I crept into this dear, imaginative world, I found myself quickly wondering: "Why did I take so long to pick up another one of Anne Elisabeth's books?" They are oh so captivating! With her beautiful, lyrical writing style, this talented author takes us to fantastic worlds where strange creatures lurk and heroes & heroines are awkward, unassuming girls and boys. Lessons and thought-provoking messages are woven throughout the pages; a soul-tugging allegory etched into the core. That's why I cry. The way God and His Light and Love are portrayed touches my heart so profoundly, I never fail to feel my eyes welling up with tears at one point or another. (view spoiler)

Though there is humor and fun aplenty, the story can be rather dark. The Family of Night, though I've yet to have them all figured out, a bit gruesome. It's only in the end, at the break-through, that you see the message more clearly, and the Light shines brightly, and you realize that, all along, darkness was not as powerful as it wanted you to think. I do recommend caution for a younger or sensitive audience. Though I didn't feel it went overboard, there were some part that were intense/gruesome. Nothing like most YA books these days, though. I feel Anne Elisabeth does a good job at keeping the balance.

As always, the characters are splendid. I loved Heloise (though sometimes I wanted to shake her), and I LOVED Benedict! And when they were together, I was absolutely delighted! *grins* They are just so funny together. So adorable in their awkwardness and grumpiness and fierceness, some how. They made each other better, as a team. They made me laugh! And touched my heart with their sincerity (this particularly coming from Benedict). And I just ... *huggles them* They were both amazing characters. The sylph was way too much fun as well. And all the other characters, good and not-so-good, interesting. And the Dame! It was so, so good to see her again! *squeals* And visit her Haven! And ... everything! I can't wait to see what happens next in this new series!

The mystery. The complexity. The adventure. It was intense. It was amazing. It told a frightening tale at times, but not overly so. I love that there were so many layers, so many stories told. There were reasons for actions. There was sorrow and loss and pain and anger. There was vengeance. And then there was love. And hope. And forgiveness and healing and victory! And a future.

I simply need this big epic novel on my bookshelf now. I want Heloise and Benedict added to my collection! *winks and grins* I'm so happy that I decided to pick up A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold ... and now I eagerly await Book Two! Or Poison Crown: The Smallman's Heir, from the TALES OF GOLDSONE WOOD. Which ever comes first! ^_^


  1. *A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold* is such a wonderful book! It took me about a month and maybe a few weeks to get through it (I'm a super slow reader, so I don't do well with six-hundred-page books). The dark themes are definitely intense, though, but I loved how Anne Elisabeth's amazing descriptions made them rather interesting! :)

    1. I heartily agree, Olivia! ^_^ It took me a week or so to read it ... but I guess I'm a fast reader, haha! (The novel I hope to release next is around 600 pages ... oops! I'm actually hoping to shorten the word count while re-writing/editing!)

      Anne Elisabeth's latest books have been more intense, but there's always a bit of humor and I feel that God's light is always shone ultimately! ^_^ And yes, she does have amazing writing! :)

  2. I really enjoyed this book, haven't been able to write a review about it yet, it was quite a big book!

    1. As did I, Skye! :) It was a really big book ... but totally epic! I happen to really like big books for some reason! :D I hope you can do a review soon!