The Goose Girl (Books of Bayern #1)
published November 2003
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.
I realize that this is a very popular book and there are probably few people that haven't read it; however, it is one of my favorite and I wouldn't feel right not featuring it. Shannon Hale has created such realistic characters in a fairytale world that I couldn't help but get emotionally vested. Ani is amazing! I love her and love how as the story progresses that she slowly starts to stand up for herself and realize the depth of who she is and what she is capable of accomplishing. This is the first book in a series of four but it is by far my favorite.