Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book Review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, by Megan Shepherd
2016, 240p, Middle-Grade/WWII/Fantasy
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a complimentary ARC from the publisher which did not affect my review in any way

There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospital. In the mirrors that line its grand hallways, which once belonged to a princess. In those that reflect the elegant rooms, now filled with sick children. It is her secret.

One morning, when Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens, she discovers something incredible: a white horse with broken wings has left the mirror-world and entered her own.

Tucked into the garden’s once-gleaming sundial, Emmaline finds a letter from the Horse Lord. He is hiding the wounded white horse, named Foxfire, from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep the Black Horse from finding her new friend, she must collect colorful objects with which to blind him. But where can Emmaline find color when her world is filled with gray?

This book started out slow and took me a while to get into. It takes place during WWII in a children's hospital named Briar Hill. It used to belong to a princess so there are lots of mirrors. Emmaline is a young girl who sees winged horses in the mirrors. A few other children see them as well, but most do not. One day, Emmaline finds a white horse with broken wings who has entered her world. She starts to correspond with the Horse Lord to find out how she can help the horse, which she learns is named Foxfire.

This is the point where it started getting more interesting to me. I enjoyed Emmaline's search for color in her gray world and her strong desire to help Foxfire. It wasn't easy and there were obstacles to overcome. There was also tragedy and more secrets to uncover along the way. I loved the way everything came together and it changed from a simple story to a complex one. The ending is one that will stick with me for a while.

In the end, this was a book that I really enjoyed! It's on the darker side but there is also a message of hope. It's best to experience it firsthand and is well worth the read!

New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of the young adult series THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER and THE CAGE, as well as the middle grade novel THE SECRET HORSES OF BRIAR HILL. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and an especially scruffy dog.


Unknown said...

if it took you a while to get into, then it's probably not for me. I cant read them unless they capture me from the very beginning. I have too many books I want to read :)...I love the cover though!

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