Over the years here, I’ve reviewed so, so many books. And sometimes in the summer I like to pull past reviews back to the top of the pile, because this both:

a) lightens my summer schedule up a bit (thereby freeing me up to do things like rummage in tidepools and nap in hammocks and drive my girls all over the county to attend Fun Things) and

b) gives me an excuse to share some of my very favorite books with you (again), books that might otherwise have languished in the archives of the blog forever because they were originally published waaaaay back in, say, 2018.

So! This marks our first summer re-run, my friends, and where better to begin than with the beloved book we’re currently re-running (that is, re-reading) around the lunch table at our house? (Good news—it’s still glorious.) I hope your summer is off to a sunshiney start, and that you find moments to read on your own and with your people.

Now, without further ado—a post that originally appeared on Story Warren, back in May of 2018.

“I absolutely adored The Little White Horse.
—J.K. Rowling

That sentence alone persuaded me to purchase The Little White Horse, a book I knew nothing else about by an author I’d never heard of. If this story fed the imagination of young J.K. Rowling, I wanted to save our family a seat at the feast.

The Little White Horse starts the way so many classics do: Maria Merryweather, newly orphaned, is delivered by carriage to an unknown relative. She is to live at Moonacre Manor with her cousin Sir Benjamin, and to her that prospect sounds simply awful.

But when she arrives she finds Moonacre Manor and the valley around it infused with the unexpected, for the country life Maria dreaded is not dull at all but rich in mystery and delight. She finds clothes laid out in her room each morning, embroidered with someone else’s name. She discovers a room in the manor where every object has some secret shut up in it. And she roves the countryside with a freedom she never had in London, exploring and building unlikely friendships.

Yet there is one blot upon this otherwise unmarred place—the wicked men of the pine wood. In her determination to learn who the men are and how they came to the valley, Maria learns something unexpected—and thoroughly unpleasant—about her own ancestors.

Like an old fairy tale, The Little White Horse assures us from the start that all shall be well and, by the book’s end, all is well—all bows are tied up neatly, all difficulties resolved. But Elizabeth Goudge keeps the route from beginning to end unpredictable: we never know what is coming around the next bend, only that it will be wonderful. And it is wonderful. This book I bought on a whim has become one of the most beloved books in our family library.