The Little White Horse
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The Little White Horse

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  5,456 ratings  ·  516 reviews

The beautiful valley of Moonacre is shadowed by the memory of the Moon Princess and the mysterious little white horse. When Maria Merryweather comes to live at Moonacre Manor she finds herself involved with an ancient feud. She is determined to restore peace and happiness to the whole of Moonacre Valley, and Maria usually gets her own way!

Paperback, 219 pages
Published June 1st 1978 by Avon Books (first published 1946)
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There are some beautiful aspects of this story, especially the descriptions -- nature, food, clothing -- there's a richness to them that is very appealing. And the characters were interesting, although I can't say I *loved* any of them.

But the didactic elements! Man, I see why Goudge set the story in 1842 instead of a century later, when it was actually written. Over and over, the emphasis on Maria having to learn to accept and embody feminine virtues (and they are explicitly denoted as feminine...more
One of my fav books from childhood & one I re-read annually. Thanks to JK Rowling, it's now undergoing a resurgence in popularity - being republished & make into a movie. Not bad for a book which one the Carnegie Medal in 1946. Ever since I have wanted a round tower bedroom.
This is a book that revels, without shame, in the star-dusted dreams of young girls. It is pure wish fulfilment in the most delightful and honest of ways and does not pretend to be anything else. Miss Goudge's beautiful prose is descriptive in infinite detail. Each time you enter a room or meet a character or enjoy a meal it is explained in full; down to the colour of the napkins or the pattern of the curtains. She creates a world that is both welcoming and comforting, with an edge of danger and...more
Monica Edinger
I reread this book a few years ago (after J.K. Rowling spoke of it as her one childhood favorite) and loved it. I'm eager to see what they do with the movie. I haven't heard of any kids today reading it and am afraid, frankly, to give it to any. Feels a bit of its time somehow. But I love it.
Mar 30, 2008 Andrealitchfield rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 8 and up
Recommended to Andrealitchfield by: Mom
Do you like adventure? Family pets that are not really, um ,family pets? Feasting? Ponies? Feisty heroines? Little boys who drop in for a play date that no one can see but you? Long family feuds that threaten to wreck everything unless someone very brave acts quickly with a clear head and great courage? This book's got'em! The story of young Maria Merryweather and her friend, Robin, is a classic. The scene at tea, where Robin and Maria agree to marry, had me rolling on the floor! It can be a bit...more
Oct 13, 2009 Dee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes fantasy or fairytales...
If I could describe this book in one word, it would definatly be "gorgeous". The language, the atmosphere... I almost forgot about reality reading it! You may be thinking "who wants to read a book about a little white horse?" Honestly, its not like that at all. The book is much, much more than tea parties and riding sidesaddle, although we first meet the characters in a lovely horse-draw carrige...

Maria Merryweather, who recently became an orphan, is sent to live with her cousin Sir Benjamen wi...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It seems a lot of those reviewers for whom this story didn't resonate are those who only learned about it as adults after hearing that J. K. Rowling liked it. I think this is one of those books where if you don't read it as a child, you will never fully appreciate it as an adult.

For me, I first read this book when I was probably seven or eight, and adored it at first read. It has remained one of my favorite childhood books. There's sheer magic in the descriptions - like Maria's room at the mano...more
A sweet tale, and enjoyable enough to read, but so much of the story unnecessarily focuses on how important it is for women not to be curious. Don't ask questions, don't go exploring, wait for the men to explain things to you and tell you where to go. Additional important moral lesson: Don't ever quarrel with someone you love, because they will totally leave you forever.

The story is about a young girl who finds herself an orphan and moves from high-society London to her only surviving relative'...more
Sep 25, 2007 Charlie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with taste.
Shelves: favorites
my older sister (nerd) gave me this book for christmas one year. i was not open enough to know how amazing it was, but when i did find out how amazing it is, i now read EVERY book she gives me. she is a genius, this book is phenomenal! so beautiful i only mourn i cannot crawl into the world created here.
Karolinde (Kari)
I read this book because it has been pushed as one of J.K. Rowlings' favorite childhood books and a major influences on her work. There was also a limited release movie that looked fascinating. While the plot is interesting, there were so many annoying points that it made it hard to truly enjoy the story as much as I could have.

1. The resolution was all too predictable.
2. The main character is annoying. She is described as being aristocratic and that is her most important quality.
3. The animals...more
This book is beyond wonderful.

I came across an article about J.K. Rowling a little while back and she mentioned this as her favourite book growing up and glowingly praised it. I tracked it down for my Kindle and really loved every moment of it.

Set in 1842, thirteen year old Maria Merryweather travels with her governess, Miss Heliotrope, and her self-absorbed Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Wiggins, by carriage to live with her uncle after the death of her father. A little vain and preoccupied wi...more
Benjamin Thomas
Continuing my December policy of reading books that have been on my TBR shelves forever, I picked up "The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge. This one was one of my wife's books that she brought to the marriage 25 years ago and judging by the cover would be a young adult fantasy novel that would appeal to girls. But it was on the I had to read it sometime...

Once again, I'm glad I did. My impressions were correct in that I think it would appeal to young teenage girls, mostly due...more
Three stars is rare for me and I feel at odds to provide such a low rate compared to my standard. It wasn't a bad book in the slightest. This was a lovely and magical children's story full of hope and inspiration, magic and wonder. For taking place in the 1800's it shed a lot of light on female power which was not readily accepted or commonplace for the time at hand which was intriguing to read.

The reason for the seemingly low rate is simply that the story didn't resonate with me as others tend...more
Seventh book of the twenty-four hour readathon. Gosh, I'm sleepy.

The Little White Horse is a little fairytale, really. I remember a friend in first year recommendng it to me over and over again, so I had quite high hopes, but I don't think it's really that special. Everything is very predictable, and often slightly silly -- mistaking a lion for a dog, really? It's kind of sweet, at times, but it edges into too sweet. I'd have liked more of a sense of risk, and for things to come a bit less easil...more
*This month’s Jolly Girls Book Club read!*

I had so much fun reading this delightful, happy fairytale for our book club this month! Written in the 1940's by Elizabeth Goudge, you won't find a modern tale anything like it. It has decent, good, kind, caring characters, and quite a bit of God and religion, Gasp*! I found the message of forgiveness and of the hope for something better inspiring, and the heroine strong and good. It is a book you want your little girls to read! And don't forget the des...more
Now and then, it is good for the soul to set aside the Songs of Experience, and read from the Songs of Innocence. The Little White Horse is one such song. It is marvelously innocent--from its pure-minded adolescent heroine to its straight-out-of-a-dream countryside-and-castle setting to its charming and surprise-less plot line.

Elizabeth Goudge's children's stories have been compared to the writing of E. Nesbit. Nesbit is one of my favorite authors, and the comparison is apt, especially once you...more
Elinor  Loredan
A fast-paced book that doesn't take much time to reflect on what is happening in it. Conversation and thoughts about events and state of being are a little less than I'd like.

Maria, the heroine, is rather cold. She takes her destiny as the current Moon Princess and her betrothal to Robin without much reaction. She's brave and level-headed with a strong sense of justice and duty, but there isn't enough going on in her mind to really bring me to a deep connection with her.

Loveday is a little too...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Bonini
I had never heard of this classic English book until a friend said it was the favourite book of her childhood . . . and, indeed, a "comfort read" well into adulthood. Now I see it everywhere -- and I marvel that I could have been unaware of it for so long.

By the third paragraph, I knew that I would love it.
"Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people -- those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food; and Miss...more
Elizabeth Goudge weaves her usual delicious prose in this good-hearted fantasy. Rather than being your standard fantasy adventure, this is more of a story of making discoveries and putting them to work. Maria, a spirited orphan, displays a precocious optimism that gets her through her challenges, whether they be conquering her own personal weaknesses or correcting mistakes of the past. The reader is swept away into a gentle world where animals demonstrate more than sentience (albeit a mute senti...more
Joy C.
This is a very unique and special sort of book! I was recommended to look up Elizabeth Goudge by my friend Anna, and I can see now that she might indeed join the ranks of my favourite authors in time to come! The Little White Horse is a lovely sort of tale, with a deal of eerie mysticism and old-fashioned charm that had me glued to the pages of this book till I was done. Following the story of young Maria who, after her father's death leaves London and comes to live in the mysterious, Paradise-l...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Before coming across it while on a search of a unicorn book to review for Zombies vs. Unicorns week, I had never heard of A Little White Horse. I’m surprised by that now, because not only was it made into a TV mini-series in 1994 called Moonacre and a movie in 2008 called The Secret of Moonacre, but J.K. Rowling praises it as one of her favorite childhood books.

I can easily understand why Rowling considers this a childhood favorite. If I had read it as a younger girl, I no doubt would have been...more
I have been wanting to read an Elizabeth Goudge book for years because the Clarkson family raves about this author. Since the Clarksons have never failed me yet in any of their recommendations, I knew that I would enjoy an Elizabeth Goudge novel.

WOW! I can't believe I haven't read her works before now. This book was filled with really wonderful metaphors, imagery and Christian symbolism! In many instances they were handled in such a subtle, expert manner that I had to read some of the metaphori...more
Maria Merrywealther had, for all her young life, always lived in London. She was a London lady born and bread and she loved her London home that overlooked London square. It was here that she had her only friend, a boy with a feather in his hat named Robin, but according to Miss Heliotrope he only imaginary.

Upon the death of her long absent father Maria became an orphan, and so her governess Mrs Heliotrope, Wiggins and herself were to leave London and move to the unrefined and ill-comforted coun...more
Tara Hall
My mother told me I had to read this book. As usually our tastes are not the same, I was skeptical, but I found myself drawn in immediately.

Goudge loved to go on and on with lengthy descriptions of character, appearance and place. In this book that works beautifully, as I was instantly transported into the story, and could identify with the characters, especially the tasty delicacies they were eating! I enjoyed the symbolism of the lion and the unicorn, that have been symbols of the sun and moon...more
An old charming children´s classic, I remember hearing about this years ago and it being outprint, but was reprinted and there is even a movie coming out soon. And it is such a charming read, so cozy and comfortable, one of the loveliest charmed lands I remember reading about, incredibly lovely descriptions. And the food, this is excellent food fantasy stuff, the dishes, the lovingly described meals (even the pets´ meals!), the sugar cookies, the "collations". The food is perhaps as integral a p...more
I had to force myself to get through this one. There were two things wrong with this book.
1) Every character (even the 'bad' ones) were Mary/Gary Sues. Everyone had goodness in their hearts, everyone was perfect.
2) My belief was not suspended. Usually it is quite easy for me to immerse myself in a book and at least superficially believe what is going on. Not so in this case. Several examples: Deciding, on the fly, that you will marry a guy (two years older) that yells at you that you will marr...more
I loved this book and so did JK Rowling. It was one of her childhood favorites. I didn't know that until I saw the blurb "I absolutely adored this book" on the cover of this Penquin 2001 reprint.

Finding this book was serendipitous. I read an article by TM Luhrmann in the NYT about God as Therapist which led me to her book When God Talks Back. I skimmed that book and was interested in Luhrmann's quoting The Little White Horse at the end of her book.

Our local library had the book in the young ad...more
Oh, Maria Merryweather. You and your silvery everything except the orphan's scars you ought to bear, the way you "find comfort in personal adornment," especially silk, the way everything comes so easily to you in this tale. It's hard to love a heroine whose struggle isn't much of one, who forces her creator to write about charm and beauty to which "no pen could possibly do justice."

Honestly, after reading the first two chapters I wasn't sure if I would make it through The Little White Horse. At...more
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Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was an English author of novels, short stories and children's books.

Born in Wells, she moved with her family to Ely when her father, a clergyman, was transferred there. When her father, Henry Leighton Goudge, was made Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, the family left Ely and went to Christ Church, Oxford.

Goudge's first book, The Fairies' Baby and Other Stories (...more
More about Elizabeth Goudge...
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“Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people - those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food;” 88 likes
“Robin: When you do marry, who will you marry?
Maria: I have not quite decided yet, but I think I shall marry a boy I knew in London.
Robin(yells): What? Marry some mincing nincompoop of a Londoner with silk stockings and a pomade in his hair and face like a Cheshire cheese? You dare do such a thing! You - Maria - if you marry a London man I'll wring his neck! (...) I'll not only wring his neck, I'll wring everybody's necks, and I'll go right away out of the valley, over the hills to the town where my father came from, and I won't ever come back here again. So there!
Maria: Why don't you want me to marry that London boy?
Robin(shouting): Because you are going to marry me. Do you hear, Maria? You are going to marry me.”
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