The Goose Girl ~ Shannon Hale

Publisher: Bloomsbury (2003).
ISBN: 1-58234-843-X
383 pgs

Classification: YA Fiction
Genre: Fiction, fairy tale, fantasy
Age Level: 12+

Reader’s Annotation: In this reimagining of the Grimm Brothers’ tale of the same name, Ani, a crown princess tricked out of her title, must find the strength within to reclaim her rightful place as queen.

Summary: Though first daughter to the Queen of Kildenree and thus Crown Princess, Anidori-Kiladra Tialanna Isilee is undeniably a disappointment to her formidable sovereign of a mother. Indeed, when Ani turns 16, she is crushed to learn that her mother has arranged for her marriage to the prince of a neighboring kingdom. Ani, helpless to resist her mother’s will, must forfeit her birthright and her claim to the Kildenree crown and journey through forest and mountain to meet her new fate. Along the way, Ani’s lady-in-waiting proves traitorous, claiming Ani’s identity for her own and orchestrating a massacre of Ani’s guards to cover her deceit. Narrowly escaping death herself, Ani makes her way to the foreign city she is supposed to call home and takes a job tending the king’s geese. Among the other workers, Ani experiences friendship and loyalty for the first time, and discovers within the strength to reclaim all that has been taken from her.

Notes: Book 1 of a series (The Books of Bayern). Every character is vibrant and Ani is a timeless heroine, but Hale’s greatest achievement with this novel is the creation of Bayern, a land and a people so well imagined it seems a forgotten piece of our own history.
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