What by Who: Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Let it be known right now that I have a minor obsession with well written fairy tale retellings. I grew up reading the original Grimm tales and other such, so I'm always overjoyed to find one of my favorites remade into something shiny and new. That said, this is nothing at all like the goose girl story I knew.
Did you know that there are two different stories by the name of Goose Girl? And that they have absolutely nothing in common other than having a princesses tend geese?
Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee of Kildenree has a hard time trying to live up to her mother, especially since her gift of speaking with birds and other animals is an unwelcome family secret. The day her father dies, her heart is broken by her mother's announcement that she is being sent away to marry an unknown prince while her younger brother is granted the throne in her place. Rallying her courage she is determined to prove that she can be strong, only to find betrayal on the road to her new home. She must now enter the unknown kingdom of Bayern in disguise and use all her talents to reveal the impostor for who she truly is.
This book is a wonderful adventure with a strong, resourceful princess and a sprinkling of romance. The story is sad, heartwarming and funny by turns. The characters are all well written and rather vibrant, especially the friends our princess comes to make in Bayern. I rather enjoyed coming to it the way I did and searching out the original story after. I certainly would recommend it as a weekend read.
Also, if you find you enjoy this book, it is the first in a series. Each of the books that follow star one of the friends made in the first. They are also books I would recommend, though they differ in tone and theme from the Goose Girl.