It was her aunt who told her the most wondrous stories, taught her to speak to the swans, was her closest friend and was always there for Ani to confide in. Now her aunt is dead, and so is her father. Nothing is left to stand in her mother's way to send her to the neighboring country of Bayern, where she will wed the prince. The three month journey doesn't go as planned and soon Ani finds herself as nothing more than a commoner knowing that if she shows herself, she will be killed. Along the way to regain her title as Crown Princess Ani meets new friends and discovers whom she really is all while disguised as the King's goose girl.
Based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Shannon Hale has woven a tale filled with rich description and excellent characters. She's one of my favourite authors for several reasons one of them being that her characters are so real and easy to relate to (in both The Goose Girl and The Princess Academy). From the moment I first started reading to the moment I finished I was entertained and interested, the action rarely ever slowed and when it did I was never bored. Especially at the beginning of the novel Hale pulls at your emotions and I felt like crying when the main character lost so much. The constant theme throughout this novel is to be yourself. From the moment Ani was born she was told what to do and how to do it. She tried so hard to be her mother even though the two were nothing alike. It takes transforming into the King's goose girl and becoming friends with those she never expected for Ani to realize who she truly is. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it for anyone in grade four or older because there's some content they may not understand.
Photo curtesy of: http://thebooksmugglers.com/2009/08/series-review-the-books-of-bayern-by-shannon-hale.html