Read for the Young Adult Reading Challenge
The Goose Girl is an expanded version of the fairy tale where a princess is sent to marry the prince of a neighboring kingdom, but on her way there, the princess’s maid steals her identity and the princess is forced to work as a goose girl. Eventually, events conspire to reveal her true identity, and the true princess marries the prince.
Shannon Hale’s story is a lovely retelling, easily as enjoyable as any of Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings. In this story, the princess, named Ani, is sent away from her kingdom to marry a neighboring prince because her mother does not believe she has the necessary gifts to rule the kingdom. And while it’s true that Ani doesn’t possess the magical gift of people-speaking (an ability many monarchs have that gives their words special weight), she does possess the far rarer gift of speaking to animals, and to the wind.
After Ani’s maid Selia and her henchmen overpower the loyal guards on their trip to the neighboring kingdom of Bayern, Ani escapes and is able to find work as the goose girl of the royal flock. Her unique abilities, as well as her hiding place among the common people of Bayern, put her in a position to give valuable information to the king to stop a war that Selia tries to bring to cover her origins.
I definitely enjoyed this book. I’d had it on my Amazon wish list for a while, and went in and flagged everything else by the author. (There’s actually a sequel to the Goose Girl, which definitely looks worth reading.)