REVIEW: The Goose Girl by Robin Gallica
While en route to Princess Ava’s royal wedding, Ava’s maid blackmails her into trading places by revealing a terrible family secret. Shocked and confused, the newly-demoted Ava tends the palace geese alongside Konrad, a cheerful, ambitious young man who is most at home in the outdoors. And as Ava learns more about the prince she was supposed to marry, she starts to think she might be better off with the geese.
Dear Ms. Gallica,
I was attracted to this story because of a blurb which sounded vaguely fairy-tale ish. Plus I wanted to know what was the shocking secret in Ava’s family past and how well she adapted to the geese.
It was fairly obvious from the beginning that Ava wasn’t happy with her arranged future and there are broad hints about her betrothed and what will transpire. Since this is a short story, this takes the story straight to Ava being more than willing to accept her new life. The circumstances and threat which allow for the clever maid to take over Ava’s future are carefully arranged and must be swallowed whole to believe what follows but – okay. Yes, Otilla smacks Ava down but her character is made a little less evil because Otilla has had a rough life and it’s clear that she will pay a heavy price for her actions while it’s equally clear that Ava ends up far happier so also okay.
Ava is practical and realistic about how she has to adapt to her new reality and she sees the advantages to her in keeping quiet and jettisoning the princess life. There is also a lesson in privilege delivered as Ava sees how the other half lives though they are remarkably patient with her as she settles into being a goose girl. In reality, Ava would probably have gotten a few cuffs to help her along but these are nice servants.
Her luck extends to finding someone to help her continue to carry off her new life. Theirs is a quid pro quo relationship which will set both of them up to get what they want in life and deflect nosy questions and prying matchmaking but it’s not a romance HEA. It is a modest examination of the asexual/demisexual spectrum and gives us a heroine willing to embrace a chance at a life that she can direct and live more as she had always wished. C+