The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale is the third book in the Princess Academy series.
an extended visit to the capitol city, Miri is homesick for Mt. Eskel.
She's anxious to return to her family and get on with her life -- but a
last-minute request from the king throws all of her plans into
confusion. With the nation on the brink of war, the king must forge an
alliance with a neighboring country, and for that, a royal bride is
needed. Miri, as a Princess Academy graduate, is expected to travel to
where three royal cousins live in a remote, swampy area, and see that
they are trained in all ways befitting princesses. When Miri arrives in
the swamp, she discovers that the royal cousins have been living in
poverty, hunting their own food, and sleeping on the ground in their
little linder house. The girls have as little training as Miri and her
friends had at the start of their own Princess Academy days -- and less
inclination to cooperate with their tutor! But as Miri gets to know her
new charges, she finds herself beginning to care for them and respect
them for their unique strengths, and they eventually learn to trust and
respect her, too. But, isolated as they are in the swamp, it's hard to
know what's happening in the kingdom. Is the Princess Academy still on,
or is war already raging through the land?
I do love this series,
which is populated throughout with strong female characters in
interesting settings. It's not strictly necessary to read the other two
books before you read this one -- the story stands on its own -- but the
book does frequently reference characters and events from previous
books, so I'd recommend starting at the beginning of the series. For
readers familiar with the series, I'll say that I liked this one
slightly more than Palace of Stone, but not quite as much as the original Princess Academy. But I liked all three quite well, so it's just a matter of degree.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)