Rec’d by Maggie Stiefvater on her tumblr.
When I read the first few lines of Stiefvater’s review of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill I knew I had to try it. A book that feels like “it has always existed” with winged horses! How could I resist. And those wonderful illustrations. So I finally got around to ordering a copy and reading it.
It lived up to all my expectations.
The book tells the story of Emmaline, a young girl during the second world war who has been evacuated to the countryside. She suffers from the “stillwaters” as she calls it, as have all the other children at Briar Hill, they are isolated because of their illness. Only those who are infected are not at risk of infection from them. Emmaline misses her home, her family bakery. She tells her friend Anna of the horses they had, and also of her secret, that here, in Briar Hill, she sees winged horses in the mirrors. And then one appears in real life, in Emmaline’s world, and the mare needs her help.
I think this is a book I would have loved and adored as a child, but then again I loved it reading it as an adult.
It is just a beautiful read. Sad and moving, but lovely and uplifting at the same time. It is a book that is all about finding the beauty in the world, even in terrible times. It is about continuing to fight, even when all looks bleak, and isn’t that a message for today.
Plus magic horses with wings!