The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill
Age Range
8+
Release Date
October 11, 2016
ISBN
1101939753
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?

Editor review

1 review
The Best of Middle Grade
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Reading the first page of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill felt a little like stepping into a different realm. There are very few books that can compare to this marvelous book, in the Middle Grade genre and overall. There is something to be said about books that can inspire hope and light despite taking place in a world that is the opposite.

I have to say that this book reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter series. Not necessarily the plot, or anything written in the book, but reading it was like entering into a new, wonderful world similar to when I first read the Harry Potter series. It’s the type of book that’s impossible not to fall in love with, and to form a connection to. This is very high praise, but definitely worthy praise!

It begins with Emmaline, a girl at children's hospital during World War II. The hospital, called Briar Hill, is home to the sick children of those who are off at war. But there is something unordinary about this hospital.. Emmaline can see winged horses in the mirrors. These horses are invisible to everyone, but Emmaline and when one needs her help, Emmaline is willing to do it all.

What I really appreciated about this book is that it did not shy away from complicated matters or events simply because this was a Middle Grade novel. Not only did the author speak about issues like trauma and death, but everything was spoken about in a realistic and sensitive way.

It was a story that will have you feeling every type of emotion possible, from sadness to happiness. There may be some tears. However, it was so beautiful and so hopeful, that it will leave a lasting effect on your heart forever. I don’t think anyone who begins reading this will suspect everything that will unfold and that they will feel.


Final thoughts?

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is haunting, beautiful, and absolutely wonderful. From the moment you open this book, you will feel as though you are entering into a new world. It is a very unique story, and one that with resonate with all those who read it, children and those who are older. It really is something that will entertain and provoke lots of thinking from the children who read it. I highly recommend everyone put this at the top of their to-be-read lists!
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