My favourite book of all time. Well, as odd as this is for me to say my favourite book of all time is not a teen book. I think it could be a good one though, if it, you know, didn’t have all the midnight lovin’. This book was an odd find for me as I picked it up at a library, and I generally dislike libraries. The ones near my house were always gray, dusty, and generally unhelpful, filled with books that always seemed to have been picked up at garage sales. They’ve always had an aura of disuse and neglect that I was never able to get past as a kid.
Still on this particular day I was banished to library because I had run out of things to read and had no money for more (nor could I convince my mother to buy anymore for me). I suppose it would have been at her urging that I was at the library at all on what I’m nearly positive was a cold winter day.
I ended up browsing through the adult section because the teen section was a sad, sad specimen that still makes me cringe when I think about it. I honestly didn’t find the adult section any more loved than the teen but at least it had a wider variety of books. Browsing the shelves it was the title that caught my eye: Lady of Horses. To my 12 or 13 year old mind at the time I fairly certain that this was everything I was looking for in a book. Horses were (and still are) a great love of mine so the word attracted me to book immediately. But the title Lady of Horses sounds like the epitome of grace, wisdom, and mystique that any 12 year old girl would dream of, and therefore called to me immediately.
The back of the book didn’t disappoint either. A prehistoric, patriarchal society, a female mystic chosen by the Horse Goddess breaking boundaries. I’m sure my trepidations about library books were overcome by my interest in this book.
I read it in about 2 days. I loved it.
It was painful. It was sad. It turned me on. It made me laugh. It awed me. It inspired me. It spoke to my soul.
Let me give you some background. Our main character is Sparrow, a woman who has had her prophetic visions stolen by her older brother. Her brother Walker is allowed to be a shaman he passes her visions off as his own, and because he is a man. Sparrow is chosen as the voice of Horse Goddess, who has taken a mortal form as a white mare, even though women are forbidden to go near the horses. Sparrow is called by the mare to do her bidding, no matter how much trouble it might get Sparrow in.
The book is full of characters, all a product of their society with their own flaws and their own human moments. The politics are clever, the dilemma fascinating, and the characters very human.
I’m not sure what it is about this book that hits me so deeply, but there something there that I think will always speak to me. Sparrow in particular is a character I admire. There is something about her self-assurance, her absolute commitment to being herself that just gets me. She’s one of the few main characters I really like.
Wolfcub is another. He’s quiet and often unintentionally brilliant, and always struggles between what he knows is the way things should be and the way things are. He makes the perfect foil to the pretty idiot prince Linden, and the arrogant Walker.
For me this book is something that I will probably love always, and will end up giving me something new each time I read it. There is so much going on under the surface, and so many strong characters that are each so different. It’s a quiet book to be a favourite, but it’ll probably be mine forever.