Little Thieves by Margaret Owen is a retelling of "The Goose Girl" with absolutely stunning illustrations throughout the book by the author herself!
The story follows Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, who has stolen beautiful and wealthy Princess Gisele's looks and life by way of a magical bead of pearls. However, Vanja isn't interested in Gisele's beauty or wealth. Rather, she seeks to steal enough from the wealthy to run away from her godmothers, who are demanding her servitude. Without any attachments to keep her, Vanja seeks only escape. Unfortunately, her single-minded focus is shaken by Gisele's sinister fiance, a half-god pet, and a junior detective who Vanja mistakenly underestimates. Vanja quickly learns that getting caught for her crimes is the least of her problems.
I absolutely loved this book! The writing is deliciously lyrical with humor throughout, and Vanja--the perfect morally gray character--will definitely steal your heart! I was rooting for her from the get-go, but she truly endeared herself to me by the 1/3 point of the story as the author skillfully revealed her undeniable vulnerability. The story itself is fast-paced, the tension high throughout, and all of it is driven powerfully by satisfying character growth. Little Thieves is perfect for those seeking a unique fantasy/retelling with high stakes, mystery, both friendship and romance, AND f/f representation!