Dark Horses: A Novel
by Susan Mihalec
A darkly gripping debut novel about a teenage girl’s fierce struggle to reclaim her life from her abusive father.
Fifteen-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery has only ever known two worlds: inside the riding arena, and outside of it. Both, for as long as she can remember, have been ruled by her father, who demands strict obedience in all areas of her life. The warped power dynamic of coach and rider extends far beyond the stables, and Roan’s relationship with her father has long been inappropriate. She has been able to compartmentalize that dark aspect of her life, ruthlessly focusing on her ambitions as a rider heading for the Olympics, just as her father had done. However, her developing relationship with Will Howard, a boy her own age, broadens the scope of her vision.
At the intersection of a commercial page-turner and urgent survivor story, Dark Horses takes the searing themes of abuse and resilience in Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling and applies the compelling exploration of female strength in Room by Emma Donoghue. In much the same way that V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic transfixed a generation of readers, Susan Mihalic’s debut is set to a steady beat that will keep you turning the pages.
My thoughts: What an intense debut novel from this author! I like to toss in an occasional work of fiction to keep things different now and then, and this was quite a random choice, wow. It started off rather easy and built the tension throughout. There are some difficult, painful things going on in the story, to be sure, and I was curious to see how the various storylines would play out. Very readable, some shock factor built in. Not for the faint hearted. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Susan Mihalec, and the publisher.
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Books – 352 pages
Publication: Feb 16th, 2021
My rating: 4/5 STARS
The author– Susan Mihalic has worked as a book editor, curriculum writer, writing instructor, and freelance writer and editor. She has also taught therapeutic horseback riding. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi and now lives in Taos, New Mexico.