Then I did a little poking around online about it. And do you know what comes up an awful lot when you search The Little White Horse? That J.K. Rowling said it was her favorite book as a child. I guess it's not that obscure after all.
Secondary Confession: I am incredibly sad that I didn't read this book as a child. This would have fit perfectly right between Anne of Green Gables and the Chronicles of Narnia. It's a book I would have loved at first reading, and subsequently reread repeatedly. I would have gladly retreated to Moonacre Manor whenever I could. Unfortunately, I had to wait until I was nearly 30 to have my first experience with this book.
And yet, the result is the same. I absolutely loved it. I will gladly reread it anytime, and I plan on getting ahold of a copy of my own as soon as I can. So what is it about this book that is as magical at age 29 as it would have been at age 9?
The characters - I would like a Robin of my own. And a Marmaduke Scarlet to cook me my meals, while we're at it.
The animals - Animals that are more than just animals. They are protectors and friends who will never lead your side. And they're just as intelligent as you always suspected they were.
The heroism - When Maria knows she is right, nothing will get in her way. Not scary heights or stubborn Black Men.
The romance - Who doesn't love a happy ending? And everyone gets one in this book by being united with the person they were always meant to be with.
The message - As an adult, I appreciate the balance between fantasy and God. Magic and fantasy don't preclude God. He is in everything, and it is only in putting Him first that we can truly find peace.
I am so glad to have been introduced to The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. And I am glad that one day, I will get to introduce it to my future children and watch them experience it for the first time. It's sure to be just as magical as my first read.