Princess of the Wild Swans was a good book, new from Diane Zahler! She is now on my list of favorite authors, and I recommend her books highly. This one was a version of the old fairytale in which a stepmother (why is it always a woman?) casts a spell on the five brothers of the princess. To help them, she must sew shirts out of nettles and she must do it in silence. (To me, silence is something I cannot bear, and I pity those who cannot speak. There is something uncomfortable about silence and I completely understand that it would be hard to master the task.)
In the old version a prince is awestruck by her sweet charm when she wraps his injured hand and gives him water. He wants to marry her and the princess cannot voice a protest, so she sews in the basement while waiting for the wedding. A priest sees her and thinks her a witch – making shirts out of nettles! The prince sadly agrees to put her to death, for that is a witch’s punishment. The princess is thrown into a basement, the same she occupied before. While awaiting her fate, she finishes the shirts and saves her brothers. She regains her ability to speak and marries the prince.
In this version, that is skipped and instead the trial is finding a place to stay without the queen finding her. I liked this book a lot.