Penguin Young Readers Group, $8.99, 295 pages
Exile is Anne Osterlund’s companion novel to Aurelia, and is an adventure-romance written for a young-adult audience. In Aurelia, Osterlund left her readers wondering what would become of the rebellious princess of Tyralt after she fled the palace to evade an unfavorable arranged marriage. Exile continues this action and suspense, opening with a high-speed horse chase, and ending in a passionate kiss.
As Aurelia sets out on an expedition to become familiar with her kingdom, and its people, from the Asyan Forest to the Geordian Desert, she knows that it will be a rugged journey, but the danger is intensified by her step-sister, Melony. Determined to win the crown, she constantly attempts to assassinate Aurelia and her companion, Robert, as they make the perilous journey.
Throughout the novel, Aurelia attempts to discover who she truly is. Is her destiny to be a queen or a frontierswoman? Is she brave or reckless? Compassionate or ingenuous? Is she able to love and be loved? Ultimately, Aurelia must ask herself if she is she just a girl with lofty dreams, or a woman capable of carrying them out. Osterlund skillfully outlines the trials and triumphs of growing up in this coming-of-age novel.