The Little White Horse is a bit of a fairytale and a bit of a mystery. It’s about an orphan named Maria who comes to the little town of Silverydew to live with her Uncle and current guardian. Her ancestors have lived here for a long time in a run down castle called Moonacre Manor. Slowly Maria begins to realize that there is a deep sadness and darkness in the town and she sets about to right the wrongs with the many friends she makes along the way.
The Pros: It’s a good story. I’d happily give this to a young girl and not have to worry about her reading something that would scare or corrupt her. It actually has quite a bit about God in it without being overly preachy, which is hard to do (I’m looking at you Girl of the Limberlost). Also, the descriptions are delightful! I was so enchanted by the author’s descriptions that I’ll probably read more of her work. You feel like you are really inside a fairyland, but it never seems outrageous. I always find it difficult to describe description other than, it was really great. I was very impressed. Also, I loved the vocabulary in this book. You just have to hand it to a children's author who respects her readers enough to use words like: "imperious," "peccadilloes," "mien," and "effigy."
The Cons: I felt like there was too much going on. There was an invisible friend who ends up being real because the whole time he was an invisible friend he was actually visiting Maria in his dreams. There was a long standing battle of the sexes ongoing for generations. There was an almost Ishmael and Isaac story somehow linked to the previous issue. There were at least five animals with special powers, two of which somehow represented the good traits of the men and women of the family. There’s a random teenage love story (Of course, though I have to say it was sort of just…in there, and not too distracting and dare I say a little humorous?). There is a hidden treasure. All of these components together made the book perhaps a little too busy in my opinion, but definitely compelling.
I enjoyed reading the book though, and I am glad I got to take part in this month's book club choice.