Review: A Goose Girl by K.M. Shea

It's been a while since I attended the Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook, yet the only book I had read from it until now was A Little Mermaid by Aya Ling. Instead, I spent the past few months catching up on the authors' other works. This week, I finally read the first book from the Entwined Tales series, which, if you're not familiar with it, is a series of six fairy tale adaptations written by six different authors about characters who must deal with the trials and tribulations of an oafish fairy godfather named Mortimer. The first book in the series is A Goose Girl by K.M. Shea, based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale "The Goose Girl." I've become familiar with K.M. Shea's writing style as of late, and while I enjoyed some of her books more than others, I must say that this was a very fun read. I became reacquainted with the "Goose Girl" fairy tale recently after reading a version of it in Magic at Midnight last week, so I was eager to see someone else's take on the story.

"The Goose Girl" by the Brothers Grimm is a fairy tale about a jealous maid who stole a princess's identity while they were traveling to a foreign kingdom so that she could marry the prince and become a princess without anyone knowing the truth. The scheme would have gone through without a hitch if it hadn't been for the princess's talking horse named Falada, who communicated her secret even in death. K.M. Shea's novel was a different take on the story in which Rynn, Princess Davina's maid, was forced against her will to take her lady's place as princess so that Davina could seek adventure and shirk her responsibility to marry a man she had never met just in case he might be unattractive. She may sound like your average Disney Princess, but Davina was more of a comical character who hated responsibility and never quite thought things through all the way. As a result of her foolishness, she ended up getting robbed and seeking employment at the very castle where she had sent Rynn in her place.

Rynn, on the other hand, was a terrific heroine and welcome breath of fresh air from the two-dimensional maid in the original fairy tale. Unlike most girls her age, Rynn had no desire to become a princess or to marry a prince. She was loyal to Princess Davina but even more loyal to her kingdom, which is why she was completely against the idea of such a treasonous act. Unfortunately for Rynn, Princess Davina had paid off the guards to ensure that her silly scheme went off successfully and used magic to keep Rynn quiet about her true identity. Rynn quickly realized that something was amiss when Captain Hulderic threatened her life at the slightest prospect of her failing to cooperate with the arrangement. Unfortunately, there was very little she could do about it thanks to her magical vow of silence. Her fairy godfather Mortimer was no help to her either by giving her the ability to control wind.

Falada, the talking horse, played a smaller role in this book than he did in the fairy tale. With his occasional one line zingers, it was easy to forget he could speak. He often provided comic relief in more of a "Mr. Ed" style than that of a fantasy sidekick. Falada related to Rynn because they were both placed in situations that they couldn't control due to their sense of responsibility to the royal family. His ability to talk was another unwanted magical gift that the air-headed Princess Davina often took for granted without taking the time to get to know her equestrian companion. Falada provided Rynn with a mode of transportation when she went to investigate Davina's situation as the new goose girl. Rynn also spent a lot of time talking to Conrad, the young goose boy who seemed to know a lot more than he let on.

A Goose Girl is great fun for anyone who loves fairy tales. It was very interesting to read about a heroine who was forced into being a princess against her will. It was also funny to read about a princess who longs for adventure but doesn't know the first thing about taking care of herself. The book was short and fast-paced, making for an enjoyable and rewarding story experience without a big time commitment. I think this might be my favorite book I've read by K.M. Shea. The Entwined Tales series is a great idea both in concept and execution.


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