A princess sent to wed a foreign prince; magic, talking animals, and mystery; a threat of murder, and betrayal; Goose Girl has all of this, in a surprisingly engaging tale for all ages of readers. While marketed for the young adult market, I happened to find this appealing paperback in a thrift store, and decided to give it a chance. I was happily surprised by this heart-wrenching tale about a girls painful journey towards finding her place where she truly belongs, after losing everything she ever cared about.
The story quickly draws you in with the main character Ani, who is gifted with the ability to talk to birds, yet forbidden to use her gifts. Misunderstood and alone, she struggles to belong in a kingdom that refuses to accept her, even as a princess. After her father's death, Ani is told she is being sent to a foreign land called Bayern where she is to wed the kingdom's prince. Yet on her journey to her new home, her escort is attacked, and Ani flees for her life in the nearby woodlands. As Ani tries to make a living tending to geese, the mystery of the attack on her life expands, and she must try to save her new home before it's too late.
Heart-wrenching, well-written, and engaging, Goose Girl is a beautifully crafted fairy tale that leaves you eager for more. Strengths-of this story are its unique plot twists, and clever way of keeping the reader involved in the story. Flaws-of this story are its overly done 'arranged marriage, princess to pauper' style story. While well done, this story is clumped in a genre of princess loving tween-age girl readers.