Do you remember Jackaroo? Cynthia Voigt is one of those writers everyone read, but I never really got into. Dicey's Song is the one I remember being most popular--or assigned for class? I can't remember. Anyway, they seemed too serious for me. Izzy Willy-Nilly was paralyzed. Downer!
But lately I've found myself thinking about Jackaroo. I read that one, and I really liked it. Thinking about it, this might have been my first exposure to fantasy. It reads like fantasy, anyway, in that it takes place in an alternate world with feudal overtones, although there's no actual magic. It's about the daughter of a wealthy innkeeper in a cold, hungry winter. Jackaroo is a Robin Hood-like figure in this world, and the more Gwyn sees of injustice and suffering, the more she realizes that the people need Jackaroo to protect them from the powerful and to give them strength.
There were only a few scenes that I remembered, and the premise. I remembered that there was a cabin in the woods where she takes refuge, and the clothing. I remembered the end, which has a tweak of romance that surprised me at the time.
So I picked it up again--got a copy for myself, actually, through Paperback Swap--and read the first page. There was a wonderful line about a room full of women waiting for charity food rations: "Men didn't come to the Doling Room. The shame would be too great for a man to carry. So the women carried it." This kind of blew me away, and now I'm completely hooked and reading it again and let me tell you, it's SO good. I didn't half appreciate it when I was thirteen. This is some solid domestic fantasy with a good splash of swashbuckling. I'm so thrilled I found this again.
And there are others! She wrote three books about The Kingdom. I have On Fortune's Wheel waiting on the shelf, and there's another, and Elske is the third. I'm giddy with a book crush, not even twitterpated about all the other books I'm not reading. Lucky me!