In this book by Meg Rosoff set in 1850s rural England, Pell Ridley leaves her home in the middle of the night to avoid marrying her childhood beau; she can't bear the thought of repeating her mother's life of domestic drudgery and constant child-bearing. Her mute little brother, Bean, refuses to be left behind, so the two ride her white horse, Jack, to the Salisbury Horse Fair, hoping to find work. When she loses everything dear to her, Pell must discover her own resources--inner and outer--and decide what's worth fighting for, clinging to, or surrendering.
I couldn't put this book down--I started it at 7:00 p.m. one night, and finished it at midnight. Wonderful scene-setting as well as compelling characters and situations from this award-winning young adult author. Also try her previous novels: What I Was, Just In Case, and How I Live Now.