Friday, October 14, 2016

THE SECRET HORSES OF BRIAR HILL by Megan Shepherd / Book Review

By: Megan Shepherd
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released on: October 11th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 stars - I LOVED It
*I received an arc from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

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?

A beautiful, haunting story that stays with you long after you read it. The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a magical, heartfelt story that effortlessly pulls readers in, and makes you wish you could stay longer when the story is over. I loved this book! I devoured it in one sitting.

Megan Shepherd's middle grade debut is mesmerizing! I loved the way she wove WWII history, and fantasy together, to create a story that will mean something different to each reader. There's so much wrapped into each of the characters in this story, along with the historical references of what has brought them together. This is book about believing in the impossible, friendship, hope, surviving and so much more. It was all the book feelings I look for in a well written MG book. I LOVED it!

Normally I'm not one to compare books, but I couldn't help but be reminded of two childhood favorites with a similar feel to them, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Secret Garden. There's something magical about the way each of these stories are told. No matter the reader's age, they connect us to the story in some way. They make us feel. They make us believe in the impossible, and take us on a journey. They allow us to reminiscence, and remind of us of what first made us start reading. 

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that it's one readers of a variety of different ages will enjoy for different reasons. It's written that way for a reason. There's an open endedness with the story that allows each reader to interpret it their own unique way. I love the way Shepherd explains why she wrote it like that at the end of her book. It's brilliant!

With it's mix of history, and fantasy, this is a book I couldn't help falling in love with. Shepherd's vivid imagery, beautiful storytelling, detailed setting and lively characters create something truly unique in a MG book. Megan Shepherd has definitely found her niche with middle grade. I think this book is one both her YA audience, and her MG readers will enjoy. I would definitely recommend picking this book up! Plus, look at that stunning cover! It just beckons you to pick it up and read it. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~