I’ve read two other books by Shannon Hale, but this one was definitely my favorite.
The Goose Girl is a creative retelling of the brothers Grimm tale by the same name. The book is split into three parts: Crown Princess, Goose Girl, and Yellow Lady.
The main character’s name is Anidori, and she is the Crown Princess of Kildenree. When she was a child, her aunt was her main caretaker, and she taught Ani how to speak to birds, specifically swans. Ani spent her childhood outdoors, but one day, someone finds Ani trying to communicate with the birds, and the queen is immediately informed. Ani is then confined to the castle and only manages to escape to ride her horse, Falada, who she can speak with telepathically. After Ani’s father dies, her family is attending his funeral when the queen makes the announcement that Ani’s position as crown princess is being given to Ani’s brother, and that Ani is being sent off to Bayern to marry the country’s prince. Ani accepts her fate rather quickly and sets off for Bayern with forty guards and her lady-in-waiting, Selia. For some reason, Selia is more upset about Ani’s demotion than Ani is. Halfway through the trip, half of Ani’s group of guards, plus Selia, turn on Ani and begin a battle. Ani flees and arrives at a woman’s home in the Forest, where she faints.
When Ani wakes up, she is being taken care of by the woman, whose name I can’t remember. Ani tells her story, and the woman wraps her hair in a headband and sends her to the palace.
Side note: Yellow hair is very important to this story. Kildenreeans are the only people in the world, apparently, with yellow hair, and Bayerns have dark hair, strictly. Ani has yellow hair, as does Selia.
When Ani arrives at the palace, she discovers that Selia got there before her and claimed that she was the Kildenreean princess, not Ani. Ani is then forced to get a job as a goose girl, hence the title.
I hope I didn’t spoil too much for anyone! I’ve been getting kind of annoyed with myself for the constant spoilers in all of my posts and I’m trying really hard to stop. Clearly, it’s not going well.
This book was extremely well-written, and I genuinely think that Shannon Hale is the best author ever. This story had a good plot, several twists and turns, complex characters, and some humor, mostly brought about by Ani’s friends. It’s perhaps one of my favorite books now, though I say that about most every book I’ve ever read.
If you hadn’t already guessed, five stars.