Travel Light

Naomi Mitchison was a prolific writer, with over 70 books to her name when she died at age 101 in 1999. Travel Light was the first book I could find by her, although she’s more known for The Corn King and the Spring Queen, which I will soon have winging its way to my clutches. This book (Travel Light) is a great adventure tale of a discarded princess (Halla) raised by bears and then dragons, constantly running into Valkyries who try to recruit her. She barely ages as she winds her way through the dark ages into Constantinople and up to the forests of Finland. She ends up helping some wanderers by being able to fix horse races by talking to the horses, giving their winnings to the church. One of the men, Tarkan Der, decides he must marry Halla, but she wants nothing of it, leading to one of my favorite marriage proposal rejections in literature: “Why shall we be married?” “Because it is not right that we should travel together always and not be married.” “Perhaps I will not travel with you always.”

Very dreamy, perfect for middle school readers, also awesome that it gives a strong and adventurous girl the main action.