Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Goose Girl (copy)

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, lived a very beautiful and young King and Queen. They watched over prosperous lands from mountains and valleys to streams and lakes. The perfect place to start a family, for the territory known as Kildenree, was a fertile hunting and farming ground.

First born to the Kildenree Monarch was a baby girl named Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, or Crown Princess Ani for short. The infant, born into the finest of families, had a slight problem. She had ten fingers and ten toes, it was true, but Ani would not open her tiny eyes. No cleaning, coaxing, or cooing would make those peepers stir. For three days the royal family paced in worry, wondering what could be done.

On the third night, which shone bright blue, an older woman entered the nursery as the castle slept. She slipped her rough hands under the infant and lifted the child to her face. “Was it you I heard cooing? Did you have something you wanted to say? I’m tired from my journey, but am ready to listen.”

The lady ambled to a nearby rocker and wearily sat down. “Would you like for me to start the story and let you finish?”

The Queen, asleep in the next room, was awakened by her daughter’s cooing and an oddly familiar melody. She rushed to her daughter’s royal crib only to find it empty. In the moments that followed her panic turned to bliss as she recognized the figure in the rocking chair. In the corner near the open window sat her sister, and in her lap, bathed in the blue moonlight, her wide-eyed Ani.

This is my interpretation of the first chapter in Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl. Published in 2002, this fantasy quest, coming-of-age tale written for tweens and teens, is loosely based on a Brothers Grimm story of the same name. And, if you enjoy this story, do not fear; Hale has written two more in the series, Enna Burning and River Secrets.

If the author’s name looks familiar, maybe you have seen Hale’s hilariously popular Austenland. This adult title is chick lit with a little less Prada and a little more Regency-era romance as a modern day girl wins a vacation to England’s answer to Disney World, Jane Austen Land.

Also Reviewed by RaiderGirl

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