First-time author Shannon Hale delights readers of all ages with her stunningly brilliant fantasy novel THE GOOSE GIRL. Anidori-Kiladree has never felt like the true crown princess of Kildenree. She doesn't have the gift of speaking with people that her mother and her lady-in-waiting Selia do. Instead, she's more comfortable spending her days with the swans by the royal lake, breathing in nature, feeling always a mere step away from understanding something in the air.
Ani's mother decides to arrange a marriage for her to the prince of Bayern, the neighboring kingdom, as a part of a peace settlement. Scared, the naive Ani sets off on the months-long journey through the mountains, accompanied by Selia and several guards.
Ani is thrown for a surprise when Selia and guards loyal to her stage a mutiny, declaring Selia to be Princess Anidori-Kiladree. Lost and friendless, with her life on the line, Ani takes up a job as goose girl, unsure of what to do with herself. Her initial plan is to save enough money to go back home to Kildenree, but as the time passes, she makes friends and understands more about the city and Bayern. Ani--who now calls herself Isi--realizes that as queen she would be able to do so much to help the people of Bayern, and so begins to develop a plan to reclaim her rightful place in the royal court, and to expose Selia as a manipulative liar.
THE GOOSE GIRL is beautifully written, with a wonderful poetic style that lends so much to the fantastical component of the story. Ani's development from an inexperienced girl to a confident young lady is remarkably realistic and will leave you cheering for her.