The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Throwback Tweens Read Thursdays

Goodreads Synopsis:

When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort—a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it—and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?

A new-fashioned story that is as wonderful as the best fairy tales.


After my post about the importance of old books, I decided it was high time we began reviewing them! Introducing: Throwback Tweens Read Thursdays! We'll start with this gem of a book. The Little White Horse has all the right components that comprise a good fairy tale: a struggle between good an evil, character growth, romance, and magic. Elizabeth Goudge is an excellent wordsmith and brings every moment to life in a deliciously lyrical manner.

The Little White Horse exudes a quirky brand of charm. The name of the characters in particular suggest a vivid imagination and love of words in the author. Indeed, these names suggest the personality of each character, before description is ever given. For example, give your imagination reign with these tasty confections: Loveday Minette, Marmaduke Scarlet, and Zachariah the Cat. Perhaps you imagined sweetness in Loveday, a temper in Marmaduke, and realized that Zachariah is no ordinary cat.

Maria, the primary protagonist, is a strong female character in possession of many of the qualities desirous in an effective leader. I particularly love Maria's tenacity. She has her faults, but each time she is confronted with them, she does not try to make excuses or pass blame on someone else. Rather, she faces them, immediately takes steps to change them, and perseveres in her improvement. This quality is what truly characterizes Maria as a mature thirteen year old who is "wise beyond her years."

I was a little frightened to reread this book, because occasionally some of the charm disappears from first read to second. Not so with The Little White Horse! Now, I must admit, as with most books, this is not a book for everyone. (In fact, I only know of one that fully fits that description.) However, if you or your tweens enjoy a good fairy tale with a strong portrayal of good and evil, this is the book for you!

What are some of your favorite "throwback" books? Let us know!


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