Another YA book which I have re-read many times, The Blue Sword is a wonderful story of a girl who never quite fit in while growing up who finds herself loving a place so far away and very different from home. Soon she’s embroiled in local life far more than she or anyone one around her ever anticipated. The echo of British Empire in this novel appeals to me, as does McKinley’s character’s range of reaction to the land they find themselves in. And there’s a romance, too!
From the blurb at Amazon:
Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does.
Hope you give it a try!