Happy Wednesday, guys!
What better way to start off the middle of the week, than to bring you back to the blog tour for The Secret Horses of Briar Hill?
I adored (and sniffled!) considerable with this beautiful, heartbreaking story of a girl who struggles with the realities of her story during WWII. Blending fantasy and historical fiction, Megan proves she's an extraordinary and versatile writer.
Published October 11th 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
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?
The idea of winged horses seemed magical to her, and I quickly learned that she was right. Because The Secret Horses… is a magical book, and I can easily see this book becoming a new American (and likely, global) classic.
In a short but impactful 199 pages, Shepherd introduces readers to the young Emmaline, a girl who has been displaced during World War II, due to ill health. She’s in a pediatric hospital, away from all that she knows.
Emmaline believes she sees horses in the hospital’s mirrors, and what follows is a quest that falls in tandem with her poignant struggles to recover from tuberculosis.
Though the subject of Secret Horses is a serious one, Shepherd does a beautiful job of blending fantasy and historical fiction, to the point where young readers (and really, readers of any age) will be enthralled by this journey.
We can’t help but be moved by Emmaline convictions (even if we aren’t always sure that what she’s seeing is truly happening), and her determination to do the right thing. It’s very much in the spirit of the greater world around her, and readers will likely feel the sense of kinship with someone who has been asked to grow up far quicker than she should have, but is willing to retain a sense of kindness and wonder about the world.
The many comparisons to the Narnian Chronicles are spot on, especially with Shepherd’s open-ended ending. But that’s the magic of the book; it lets you decide for yourself.
Highly recommend, full stop.
Check out the rest of the tour:
Tuesday, October 4th: The Mod Podge Bookshelf, Interview
Wednesday, October 5th: Jenuine Cupcakes, Review (and cupcakes!)
Thursday, October 6th: Pandora’s Books, Movie Cast Post
Friday, October 7th: Owl Always Be Reading
Monday, October 10th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, Review
Tuesday, October 11th: Such a Novel Idea, Playlist Post
Wednesday, October 12th: The Reading Nook Reviews, Review
Thursday, October 13th: Seeing Double In Neverland, Author Guest Post
Friday, October 14th: Mundie Moms, Review
About the author:
MEGAN SHEPHERD grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of several acclaimed young adult books, and The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is her debut middle-grade novel. Shepherd lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and a dog. You can visit her at meganshepherd.com