The Rose Legacy

272p. Bloomsbury. May 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781599906478.
Gr 4–6—After the death of her parents, Anthea has spent her life shuffled from household to household, as family members pass her along among themselves, leaving her feeling unwanted and alone even as she holds tight to her dream of becoming a Rose Maiden to the queen like her mother once was. Like everyone else in Coronam, she has been taught that what lies beyond the Wall in the Exiled Lands is to be feared; so when her father's brother wants her to come live with him there on his farm, she is horrified. Her arrival is met with an even worse discovery: horses, the diseased creatures that should have been long dead after they brought a plague to Coronam. As Anthea learns more about her family, the political history of the country, and her emotional connection to the horses, the walls she has built around herself crumble and she begins to question everything she knows. While her new home is a perfect fit, she discovers that her dreams have been based on an impossible image of her mother, who is not only alive but an enemy to all Anthea now holds dear. This tale will speak to readers who feel like an outsider, as well as those who adore animals, as George's young protagonist and her friends overcome their fears in order to take on adult villains and protect each other along with the horses they love.
VERDICT Readers who love Shannon Hale's fiction, Kristin Bailey's middle grade stories, and Megan Shepherd's The Secret Horses of Briar Hill will be captivated by this luminous start to a new series, which, after some frightful twists and turns, ends on a hopeful note.

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