Jessica Day George, The Rose Legacy (Bloomsbury USA 978-1-59990-647-8, $18.99, 259pp, hc) May 2018. Cover by Kevin Keele.
Kids who dream of having horses should love this middle-grade fantasy novel about an unwanted orphan girl who ends up with an uncle she didn’t know she had, who raises forbidden animals: horses. This has an interesting setting in a kingdom vaguely reminiscent of an early-20th-century Great Britain, with trains and early automobiles and a Wall to the north that keeps out unwanteds – traitors and pagans and such. Anthea, a proper young lady who dreams of someday being one of the queen’s Rose Maidens, is devastated to run out of respectable relatives to live with and gets sent beyond the Wall, which will “ruin” her. Learning uncomfortable family secrets and having to deal with animals she’s been taught carry a deadly disease just makes things worse. Discovering she has the rare ability to speak mind-to-mind with horses is creepy – until she meets the special stallion Florian. Gradually, she begins to accept and even love the animals, and, when the farm is threatened by the kingdom, decides it’s up to her to save them. A charming, if somewhat light, tale for younger readers.
Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the July 2018 issue of Locus.
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