The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a middle grades fiction set during WWII in a home for sick children. Emmaline is one of the girls in this hospital. Like the other children, she is ill with the stillwaters, which I come to learn is tuberculosis. Emmaline can see beautiful winged horses in the mirrors of the hospital, but the other children mock her, because only she and the groundskeeper claim to see them. When she finds an injured winged horse named Foxfire on the grounds of the hospital, Emmaline is tasked with keeping the horse safe from the Black Horse by the Horse Lord. She must collect items of all the colors of the rainbow to create a spectral shield in order to protect Foxfire. But with no family, a war raging, and a terrible sickness raging inside, Emmaline feels as if she’s only surrounded by gray. Where can she possibly find color in her world?
Filled with magic, mystery, wonder and hope, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a beautifully crafted novel. There’s black and white illustrations within that add to the allure of the novel. Shepherd creates a imaginative world perfect for readers of all ages to get lost in.
*I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley. All opinions are my own!