In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
*Spoiler warning* if you haven't read Alanna: the First Adventure.
The second in the Song of the Lioness quartet starts a few months after Alanna: The First Adventure ended. Alanna, now Prince Jonathan's squire, is traveling when a storm forces her to seek shelter. That night, she meets a new friend - a cat with eyes as violet as her own - and the Goddess herself, who gives her advice about what is to come.
I read the book in one evening. The plot seems meandering, but is really more of a journey, as Alanna prepares to become a knight. A couple of years go by very quickly, which sometimes makes events that were probably a bit slower to occur in the internal chronology happen very quickly. All my favorite characters - Alanna, Jonathan, George, and the rest - were back in this entertaining tale. 4.5 stars.
Cross-posted at Born Reader.