Jacqueline Horsfall

Jackie at library

Always play lightly on the earth . . .

Jackie Horsfall definitely understands why celebrities get peeved with stalking paparazzi because deer follow her everywhere—tagging along on hikes, grouping in her driveway, chowing her apple trees, even (creepy!) staring at her through her office window. That’s when the thought hit: They must want me to write about them.


Jackie’s long writing career started right out of college, when she was hired into the White House Correspondence Section—answering the president’s mail. Since then she’s published hundreds of stories, articles, and poems in leading children’s magazines such as HighlightsRanger RickJack and JillHumpty Dumpty’sCurrent HealthPockets,CobblestoneCalliope. She’s the author of a dozen joke-and-riddle books, as well as the award-winning nature book Play Lightly on the Earth, translated into German and Japanese.

On the serious side, Jackie worked for years as the director of a women’s center and a county crisis referral center. The female characters in her stories mirror the trials of real women in real situations.

After living in Germany and traveling widely in Europe and Russia, Jackie now makes her home (amid snooping deer) in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. She loves getting fan e-mails and is a pro at responding—just ask the president 🙂

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For the Love of Strangers cover

For the Love of Strangers
Jacqueline Horsfall

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Philoxenia. When the police call using this code word, 16-year-old Darya knows she will be sheltering strangers: women with missing teeth, dislocated jaws, black eyes, and stalking husbands.

Other strangers—nonhuman—seek Darya’s protection too, whispering from the depths of the forest in voices only she can hear. If she obeys the voices, she risks her adoptive mother’s rage, the taunts of a surly island boy, and the wrath of her community. If she refuses the voices, a primeval species faces extermination.

What if you discovered your birth fulfilled an ancient prophecy?

What if you were destined to save an entire wild species?

Would you heed the call?


And then I hear it. Or half-hear it. A voice. A wordless call carried in a gust of wind from deep in the woods. I sense it more than hear it, not my name, but a moaning that pierces my chest, squeezes the soul-nugget within. I strain to hear it again, to prove to myself that it’s not just my imagination. It comes again, this time as a sense of water trickling in a shallow creek that never seems to freeze. I’m shivering but sweating at the same time, like a person possessed.

A branch snaps nearby. Dry leaves crunch under the stand of pines, where the snow hasn’t reached the ground. Not the light rustle of a squirrel or woodchuck but a heavier thumping sound, of paws or hoofs or boots. I tense, listening for the grunting huff of a bear, the snarl of a bobcat. But the wind picks up, and a low whooshing sweeps through the pinetops.

Praise for For the Love of Strangers

For the Love of Strangers instantly drew me into this poignant tale of a Russian adoptee, then continued to intrigue as it masterfully interwove threads of past and present into a haunting, lyrical novel that echoes in the heart and mind long after the pages are closed.”

~Patricia Hermes, award-winning author of You Shouldn’t Have to Say Goodbye, Mama, Let’s Dance, and Dear America/My America series

For the Love of Strangers is a thoughtful and exciting read, making for a top pick. Highly Recommended.”

~Midwest Book Review

“Darya, powerfully drawn to these animals who communicate with her and see in her the reincarnation of the deer goddess of ancient Siberia, is determined to feed and protect them, in spite of Tee-Tee’s insistence that she concentrate on the human victims who need their help instead. The author has worked in social services, so that part of her story is firmly rooted in reality. The addition of a romantic element in a new student, another loner like Darya, is a nice touch.”


“While the deer’s connection to Darya is poetic and the mythological detail is beautifully inserted, it is the safe house and its residents that are the most compelling part of the book. The story moves along at a good pace, and reluctant readers will find this to be a book they can take in. The simple black-and-white illustrations accentuate the magical realism.”

~School Library Journal


“Well written, this book is an engrossing read. It kept me reading to find out what happened next and by the last page, which was left open for a sequel, I was interested in finding out what happens after the end.”

~Aurora Reviews