FICTION

The Forgotten Sisters

336p. (Princess Academy: Bk. 3). ebook available. Bloomsbury. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619634855. LC 2014013744.
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Gr 4–7—Miri is on her way back to wed Peder when the king asks her to educate three unruly sisters. As in the previous novels, Hale keeps the action taut and the young women smart and savvy. Things end happily ever after, with a satisfying twist. A decade after the Newbery Honor-winning Princess Academy was published, this third and possibly final installment in the series will please old and new fans alike.
In this trilogy-ender, Miri (Palace of Stone) establishes a princess academy for three sisters in hopes that one of them will prove a suitable match for a rival king, thus preventing war. The sisters, however, are uninterested in education, much less royal betrothal. Hale deftly juggles plot, character, and setting; her prose is lyrical yet economical.
Just as Miri is set to return to Mount Eskel following her adventures in Princess Academy: Palace of Stone (rev. 9/12), another crisis demands her attention -- and delays her homecoming. She must first journey to a remote province -- Lesser Alva, little more than a swamp -- and establish a princess academy for three sisters in the hope that one of them will prove a suitable match for a rival king, thus preventing a possible war. As it turns out, the sisters, Astrid, Felissa, and Susanna, are completely uninterested in education, much less stuffy customs or royal betrothal. True to form, however, Miri rises to the challenge, and when war does break out, she and the self-described "swamp rats" flee to the capital, where secrets are divulged, families reconciled, and peace restored. As always, Hale is a terrific storyteller: she deftly juggles plot, character, and setting; her prose is lyrical yet economical; and the themes of feminism and equality that run throughout the trilogy blossom in the resolution of this concluding volume. Readers will be sad to say goodbye, not just to Miri and company but also to Danland itself. jonathan hunt

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