It's Tuesday, so it's Utah author day again. Today's author is Shannon Hale. I really enjoy reading Shannon Hale's fairy tale type books. This is an older one, but I hadn't read it before. Ani is the crown princess of Kildenree. The book opens with her birth. After Ani was born she didn't open her eyes for 3 days. Her mother and the whole kingdom worried about her. She was the crown princess after all and destined to rule on the throne. The third day, her mother heard some one rocking and talking to Ani and discovered her sister there taking care of her. Ani and her aunt grew close. Her aunt normally lived in the forest and recognized that Ani had the gift of talking to birds, so she helped her develop that gift before she had to leave again for the forest. After her aunt left, the nurse maids all thought that she was odd for talking to birds and other animals, so they told the queen and Ani was banished from animals so that she could learn to be a queen. Poor Ani, she felt that she wasn't cut out to be the queen, her mother seemed to never approve of anything that she did or said. It was hard work for her to learn to be queen. The only thing that kept her sane was her father. He understood Ani in a way that no one else did. They would often go riding together and one day her father fell off his horse in the middle of a high and difficult jump and died. Ani was so sad, but it only made things worse for her mother to tell her right after her father's death that Ani was betrothed to a prince of another land and she would be leaving right away to marry him. Thus begins Ani's adventures. This was a fun book. I love Shannon Hale's books. Princess Academy is another one written in this kind of fairy tale style. I highly recommend them!