Blog Tour: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd ~ Guest Post

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 3rd: Twinning for Books, Review
Tuesday, October 4th: The Mod Podge Bookshelf, Interview
Wednesday, October 5th: Jenuine Cupcakes, Review (and cupcakes!)
Thursday, October 6th: Pandora’s Books, Movie Cast Post
Friday, October 7th: Owl Always Be Reading
 - Review
Monday, October 10th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, Review
Tuesday, October 11th: Such a Novel Idea, Playlist Post
Wednesday, October 12th: The Reading Nook Reviews, Review
Thursday, October 13th: Seeing Double In Neverland, Author Guest Post
Friday, October 14th: Mundie Moms, Review

The first page will pull you in and the writing will blow you away. In a world of life and death. Of loss and hope. A girl will choose to see color in a world of war. This story was so beautiful and touched my heart. What a magical book to cherish for a lifetime.

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

Hardcover192 pages
Expected publication: October 11th 2016 
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC provided by Publisher
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars


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? 

Guest Post - by Megan Shepherd (I added the photos and gifs)

Color plays an important role in The Secret Horses of Briar Hill. Young Emmaline is far from home in a tuberculosis hospital during World War II, and even worse, it’s the midst of a harsh winter. Everything around her is dying and gray. The only brightness in her world is her friend Anna and Anna’s beloved colored pencils, with which they draw more hopeful worlds. It is these colored pencils that slowly show Emmaline that there are other colors in the world: in a classmate’s green toy train, in purple church cloths, in turquoise treasures hidden in the hospital’s attic. Color becomes Emmaline’s way of connecting to a more magical, happier place.

Color plays into the illness in the book, too. If tuberculosis itself had a hue, it would be drab, cloudy, colorless—but in contrast, the medicine the children take is bright yellow. The doctor uses a colored red, blue, and yellow tag system to diagnose the disease. Tying bright color to the healing process is a sign of hope; though the children don’t always realize it, the doctors and nurses are fighting to heal them with their own colorful tools.

The idea of focusing on color in the novel came from some photographs I took. I wrote The Secret Horses of Briar Hill during the winter of 2015, and one day my husband, my dog, and I bundled up and ran outside and took lots of snowy pictures. When I looked at them later, I was struck by how, even though I was taking color pictures, they were essentially black-and-white: a gray sky, white snow, black skeletons of trees. There was not a single glimmer of color. Those images stuck with me because, in reality, there was lots of color that day: my husband’s blue scarf, red cardinals, my dog’s happy pink tongue. But none of that made it into the photos. Likewise, in my novel, the characters must dig deep to find hidden glimmers of magic.

The tagline of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is “There is color in our world, you just have to know where to look.” I hope that after readers finish the novel, they will not only begin to see more color in their own world, but also help to spread it to the lives of others and make the whole world brighter.

Buy Links:

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of the young adult series THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER and THE CAGE, as well as the middle grade novel THE SECRET HORSES OF BRIAR HILL. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and an especially scruffy dog.


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