Astryn and the Golden Goose

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Astryn and the Golden Goose: A Princess Who Never Smiled Retelling by M. J. Padgett (Autumn Fairy Tales book 8)

When her mom died from the plague sixteen years ago, Astryn locked away her joy. Laughing, smiling, enjoying herself were betrayals to her mother’s memory. Why should she enjoy life when her mother wasn’t there to share it? But when her father threatened to betroth her to a man of his choosing — and give away her throne — she must set aside her grief and find someone she can tolerate. 

Hans also lost his mother to the plague, but he knows she wouldn’t want him wallowing in grief. She’d want better for him — better than his current life of doing everything for his lazy father and older brothers while running their butcher shop. When his angry goose causes him to trip the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen into a mud puddle, he’s mortified, and even more so when he discovers she’s the princess.

Will their muddy introduction lead to a true friendship? Will the goose offer surprises beyond not chasing them? Will Astryn open her heart to life and love once more?

“Joy didn’t have to be represented by smiles or bursts of laughter.”

This story was so lovely. Astryn is experiencing a depression caused by heavy grief, and instead of trying to cajole her out of her melancholy, Hans meets her where she is, and gently offers a different perspective. 

Faith is a core part of the story, and both Astryn and Hans believe in kindness and helping others. (Honestly, they’re the perfect pair.)

I loved the little bit of gender-swapped Cinderella elements, and there’s some blending of The Golden Goose as well, though that story is very similar to The Princess Who Never Smiled.

5 Roses
A couple of sweet kisses at the end
A few injuries, but not at all descriptive
A few minor swears (“darned,” “bloody stars”)

(Thank you to the author for the ARC of this book. This is my honest review.)