Who hasn’t wanted to be able to communicate with animals? In “The Rose Legacy,” Anthea, the main character, can communicate with horses. Of course, she doesn’t find this out until she goes to live with an uncle in the north and learns that he breeds horses, animals that were thought to have died out long ago.
In fact, growing up, Anthea learned that horses were like monsters. They carried a plague that killed many people, and the horses died of it as well. After being passed from relative to relative for most of her childhood, Anthea is finally sent to Last Farm, which she finds out is in the land of Leana, a country that she thought was a myth. In fact, this ancient country is beyond Kalabar’s Wall, a wall that protects the proper part of the country. There she learns about the horses and is horrified.
Soon Anthea learns that she can communicate with horses, and especially with her once-beloved Florian. Anthea learns that she was born on the farm, and that she had bonded with Florian as a young child. She and this stallion have a bond that becomes almost the heart of the story.
But a misstep that Anthea had made right after her arrival at the farm comes back to haunt her, and she and her cousin Jilly must figure out how to save the horses they both love. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way that will keep the reader engrossed in the story, and plenty of intrigue for the stories to come.
George creates a protagonist who is a bit unlikable at first. While the reader sympathizes for her unfortunate situation (she believes she is an orphan, unwanted by all the families she lives with), her reaction to the family that wants her at the Last Farm is prickly and unwarranted. But she certainly redeems herself, and by the end, every reader will be rooting for her and her group of friends and relatives to save the day.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, the publisher, for review purposes.