Friday, February 12, 2010

Book Review - Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Several years ago I attended a writers’ conference and had the great fortune of listening to author Shannon Hale. At the time I’d never heard of her. I’d gone to the conference to meet Jean Craighead George, who wrote Julie of the Wolves (another wonderful book). I slipped into to listen to Shannon, and I was totally blown away. First she walked into the packed room with a laminated roll of papers. She began her talk by setting the roll down on the floor. It unrolled nearly to the back of the room. Then she said, “Those are my rejections.” Right then and there I knew I like this woman. She talked for about an hour or so telling us where she went to college, how she struggled to become published and that if you work hard and keep at it you’ll eventually reach your goal. But she also said a lot has to do with having your manuscript at the right place at the right time.

After listening to her talk, I had to buy her book. The title didn’t really appeal to me and I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I’d never attended her lecture, but what a great find! Here’s the opening sentence: She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.

What a great hook! First you realize the character is royalty (interesting) and you have to wonder, why didn’t she open her eyes? Right there you’re thinking, must read more, right? I sure did. I was drawn into a wonderful fantasy world that I didn’t want to leave.

Here’s the teaser on the book cover flap:

She was born with her eyes closed and a word on her tongue, a word she could not taste. Her name was Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she spent the first years of her life listening to her aunt’s stories and learning the language of the birds, especially the swans. When she was older, she watched as a colt was born, and she heard the first word on his tongue, his name, Falada.

From the Grimm’s fairy tale of the princess who became a goose girl before she could become queen, Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can lead the people she has made her own.

Shannon has added some wonderful touches of magic that makes this book very intriguing and elevates it to the forefront of books you must own.

(Bloomsbury published this book. I bought my own copy and offer this review freely without financial ties to either the publisher or the author.)


  1. What a great experience! I love the laminated rejection roll :)

    She sounds like a great author/person.

  2. She is a great author/person and made everyone there feel as though they could succeed with their books. Thanks for stopping by, Jemi!

  3. I like her opening line, too. And I LOVE your banner for your blog!! Thanks for stopping by mine! I will be watching for your book. :)

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kathi! I'm following your now :)

    Lizzie-Bear is so cute! I have two miniature doxens, but Lizzie Bear is the cutest!

  5. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  6. Lucy, I'm thrilled you happened upon my blog and have enjoyed reading it! Drop by anytime!

  7. Aubrie, I enjoy your blog. Thanks for the compliment about my Lizzie-Bear. She's such a sweetie. Two doxens, what fun! Little dogs become such a part of our lives. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  8. Thanks M. Gray! I've worried that the black of my blog was too depressing, but I love the butterfly and flower. To me, it gives hope. I loved your blog. :)

  9. There's nothing like an author who has persevered, despite receiving many rejections. I attended a conference where Laurie Halse Anderson (author of, Speak) was a speaking. She brought her nice stack of rejections, which put mine to shame. Then she explained that she had good ideas, but hadn't learned the art of writing a book. It took her years to get it right.
    I try to keep this in mind each time I receive another rejection...

  10. Theresa, I agree. Seeing what Shannon went through gave me hope. Keep at it. A lot of getting published is having the right manuscript at the right publishing house at the right time. I feel very fortunate. I know if you keep working at it you'll make it. :)

  11. I ADORE Shannon Hale and her books... they are my absolute favorites. Thank goodness she didn't stop at a few rejections!

  12. Victoria, I love her books as well. Only goes to show a writer needs to believe in his/her work! Thanks for stopping by. :)



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