Miri has always wanted to work in the quarry with everyone else in her mountain village but her father refuses to allow it. She believes it is because he sees her as weak and frail. Then, a messenger arrives from the lowlands to announce that the prince's future bride will come from among the girls of the mountains and an academy is being established to groom them and educate them for their future position. All of the girls must attend the academy. Miri isn't so sure she wants to go but go she must. The girls assemble at the academy and under the harsh tutelage of Olana they begin to read and curtsy and learn the art of conversation. Miri finds reading to be difficult at first. She finds the academy difficult and tries to leave taking the other girls with her. As a result, she finds herself shunned and turns to books for comfort. The books, especially the book of commerce, will give her the power to change her mountain village forever. What happens when the prince arrives to choose his bride? Shannon Hale at her best in this Newbery Honor book.
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books