The Goose Girl: A fairy tale for grownups

I initially thought The Goose Girl was going to be a Graustark knock-off, but Harold MacGrath’s plot contains complex characters that George Barr McCutcheon can’t match.

The Goose Girl revolves around two girls of approximately the same age, Hildegarde and Gertrude.


The Goose Girl by Harold MacGrath

Andre Castaigne, illus. Bobbs-Merrill. 1909 bestseller #8. Project Gutenberg  eBook #14598. My grade: B.


Princess Hildegarde interviews the goose girl
Princess Hildegarde interviews Gertrude, the Goose Girl.

Abducted as a toddler, Princess Hildegarde is reunited with her father at age 16 after experiencing hardship and freedom.

Hildegarde wants to marry Arthur Carmichael of the American consulate, but she’s ordered to wed King Frederick of Jugendheit for reasons of state.

Youthful King Frederick has also been given much freedom.

He rejects Hildegarde in favor of Gertrude, a beautiful goose girl with socialist sympathies.

Although the Grand Duke hates the idea of Hildegarde marrying his enemy’s son, he’s ready to go to war with Jugendheit when Frederick refuses to wed her.

Such irrationality is all too human.

Anyone who ever read a fairy tale knows how the romance is going to end.

The interest is in who engineered Hildegarde’s abduction and why.

The denouement is dramatic because the culprit is so believably the last person anyone would suspect.

No one would mistake The Goose Girl for literature, but neither can anyone deny that MacGrath’s characters are a far cry from the stilted cardboard pieces of McCutcheon’s romances.

©2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni

 

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