On the Horizon – the secret horses of briar hill (Megan Shepherd)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this middle-grade fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

the secret horses of briar hill (Megan Shepherd)

Title: the secret horses of briar hill

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s

Publication Date: currently October 11, 2016

ISBN: 9781101939758

Source: NetGalley

This was a beautiful little gem of a book.  I originally saw a review of this book by Lola @ hitormissbooks.  It was the stunning cover of the book that made me know I had to read it:


The premise of the book cemented it.  The story takes place during World World II at Briar Hill Hospital in the English countryside.  The hospital takes care of children with tuberculosis.  Our main character is a wonderful girl named Emmaline May, and she can see winged horses in the mirrors of the hospital.  Until one day she finds a winged horse in the old abandoned garden on her side of the mirror.  What happens next?

The idea of winged horses drew me in but it is Emmaline May’s story that is truly magical.  Her perspective is sensitive, compelling, bittersweet, and completely engaging.  Her friendships in this book are endearing.  But above all it was Emmaline’s determination that I reveled in.  I couldn’t help but cheer for her.

The writing is lyrical and beautiful.  The illustrations are stunning.  I would consider this book to be magical realism.  The end of the book can be interpreted in many ways.  For a while after reading, I continue to change my mind about which reality could be true.  I have also continued to think about the book many hours after finishing it and know that I will be forever grateful for Lola’s review for the introduction, NetGalley for accepting my request, and the author for creating a stunning book that captured my heart.

Please read Lola’s review here to get another perspective on a truly lovely book.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Penguin Random House!

The publisher’s website had this to say about the novel:

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 . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Megan Shepherd – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

the secret horses of briar hill – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

12 thoughts on “On the Horizon – the secret horses of briar hill (Megan Shepherd)

  1. What a beautiful cover! I am fascinated by this premise and will certainly have to check this book out. I need more magical realism in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are people in my book club who will NOT read magical realism, but your review just made me realize something, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: aren’t few children’s books NOT magical realism? What, do we get old and boring? Not sure. I do know that in the Anne of Green Gables series that I’m currently reading/reviewing, she never gives up on fairies, especially, and magic in general, though we never get into actual magical realism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s part of why I love Anne – never giving up on her imagination. Children’s books are all about imagination. I remember reading a book when I was younger about a goldfish getting as big as a swimming pool. I loved the image even though it was “just” a story. In my heart I know that dragons are real, pirates are awesome, and books can take you to different worlds. Magical realism can be odd but that is part of the fun! Thanks for the comment.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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