I've gone about this completely in the wrong order! A few weeks ago I watched a little movie called The Secret of Moonacre. I learned that it was based on a book titled The Little White Horse (the movie's title is superior in my opinion, although not sure if would work for the book). Then I learned that the book was one of J.K. Rowling's favorite childhood books. I then decided that I needed to read it.
Alas, though I can see why this was a favorite book of Rowling's childhood, it does not really do it for me as an adult. Much of the plot comes across as silly and entirely too unrealistic. **Spoilers** The characters decide to just go tell their enemies to stop being evil and it (eventually) works, Robin and Maria agree to marry in such a bizarre way (and then they get married at age 14!), and various other details are almost laughable. There is no suspense except for one brief chase scene (which was probably my favorite part of the book). Interesting characters and I liked the bare bones of the story, but this is a kids' book, and it doesn't really work unless you are one.