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Maria Merryweather is an orphan, sent to live at Moonacre Manor with her second cousin Sir Benjamin Merryweather. Her only companions are her dyspeptic governess, Miss Heliotrope, and their spoiled spaniel, Wiggins. On arrival at Moonacre, a whole new vista opens up as Maria discovers an enchanted valley whose people await the return of the long-lost Moon Princess. Stranger still are the invisible servants at the manor, the mysterious Men from the Dark Woods, and the far-off glimpse of a most unusual horse …

I fully admit to seeing the movie first (The Secret of Moonacre). But it got me so interested in the book it can’t have been a bad thing, the movie also kindled my love of Vivienne Westwood couture and helped inspire my wedding dress, so not bad at all. It is a cute little movie and if you have a chance I recommend it.

Anyway, the book! It is an adorable and whimsical romp through this almost believable fantasy. It has a few religious elements, but they’re more tied up with the story than just because “God is scary and to be feared” (this was written in 1946 after all). I heartily recommend it to children and adults alike. It really captures a special feeling of curiosity and adventure that many books attempt, but fall short.

S.W. Wildwood’s Goodreads

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