The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Author: Shannon Hale
Reader: Full Cast Audio
Short Review: A magical fairy tale brought to life by an amazing cast of readers. This modern retelling of a Grimm’s tale follows Ani, Princess of Kildenree, as she finds her own inner strength and true path in life. It is officially listed for Grades 6-9, but I am here to tell you that it is a fine choice for any adult interested in getting swept along by a well told tale of magic and strength.
Long Review: I loved it. It haunted me for days. Between the well written story and the amazing full cast recording – they had me hooked. I was a bit suspicious of the full audio aspect of it before I started. Most of my audio book experience has been with solo readers. I needn’t have worried – they were fabulous! It reminded me of an old school radio show.
The story is a classic tale of a princess forced to switch roles with her handmaid. In this version our princess is more than she appears and she discovers a lot about herself and what is important to her along the way. I don’t want to tell you too much but the title points out the obvious, our princess ends up as a goose girl. How she goes from being princess to goose girl and back again of course is the story – but there is so much more woven into it.
There are lovely details of how the world works and the types of people who populate it. For instance, there are those with the skill of ‘people speaking’. You know the ones who have this – the charismatic people who can walk into a room and turn everything their way? To balance out those with ‘people speaking’ we also have those who can speak to animals and rumors of a distant time when people could speak to the elements. It may sound hokey, but Shannon Hale (who recalled the original tale from her own childhood) pulls it together to build a world where magic lives quietly in the midst of the ordinary.
The story includes love, loss, loyalty earned, intrigue, betrayal and redemption. This is one of my favorite audio books of all time.