The Goose Girl is apparently a retelling of a fairy tale, but I am not sure which one. I am apparently unfamiliar with it, but I assume a google search would ease my curiosity. Hold on…ok Wikipedia has an excellent synopsis of the fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. Reading that synopsis I can assure you that Shannon Hale kept very near to the original fairy tale.
Ani is the crown princess of Kilderan and she can talk to animals. There are others who can influence people with their words and others still who can speak to the earth. Ani soon learns that she is betrothed to the prince of Bayern and is sent with 40 guards and her lady-in-waiting to Bayern.
The trouble begins when Selia, her lady-in-waiting uses her skills to influence the guards to put her forward as the crown princess. This begins Ani’s long journey through Bayern where she makes many friends and learns the plight of the people of Bayern and earns her own way as the king’s goose girl. Both Selia and Ani are blonde’s in a country full of dark headed people.
I won’t say anything else, but I read it in 3 days (that included me working full time, so basically every moment not eating, sleeping or working I was reading!). Ani’s speech at the end where she is giving the prince, the prime minister and the king a piece of her mind is awesome!
“A warning there, pig boy,” Conrad shouted from across the camp. “Don’t touch her hair without leave, or keep a good hold on your hat.”