book review: Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic | BookBrowse

DARK HORSES by Susan Mihalic
Gallery/Scout, February 16, 2021

Dark Horses is a shocking, heart-pounding debut; it’s both a coming-of-age novel and an unflinching story of resilience and survival. Fifteen-year-old Roan Montgomery is an equestrian prodigy; she attends a private high school, where she is given a special schedule allowing her to miss afternoon classes to train for her horseback riding events, which are a stepping stone to her plan of one day riding in the Olympics. In spite of her shortened class schedule, Roan receives straight As, and isn’t allowed to date or attend any social events outside of school. The reason why, the reader soon finds out, is disturbing and sinister: Roan’s father, also her riding coach, is in complete control of every facet of her life, and on top of the daily emotional abuse he inflicts on her, he has been sexually abusing her since early childhood.

You can read my full review HERE on BookBrowse, and you can read a piece I wrote about equestrian eventing HERE.

7 thoughts on “book review: Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic | BookBrowse

  1. Excellent review! I tend not to reach for books about animals and might have skipped over this one for the title alone, but it sounds like such a powerful read, and perhaps not actually focused so much on the horses but moreso on the role they play in the MC’s life? I do appreciate books exploring perception and agency in the face of trauma and it sounds like Mihalic writes with nuance and brilliance, so now I’m very tempted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yeah it’s definitely one that can be enjoyed(?) by people who don’t love animal books. Admittedly me having been a horse girl in a past life did add a layer of enjoyment(?) to my reading experience, but it’s not a horse-centric book; they’re very much the backdrop. Anyway, it’s a quick read so definitely worth a try if you think you can stomach the subject matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, sounds good. Did you ever read Push (I almost called it Precious, but that was the movie)? Similar dynamic with the father abusing the daughter with the complicity of the mother. Also a tough but rewarding book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read that one! Or seen the movie, but I remember hearing a lot about it. I might give it a try, I do need a break though since I’ve been (totally coincidentally) reading a string of ‘fathers abusing daughters’ books lately. I need a damn break.


  3. This sounds really compelling though difficult to read. The aspect of a young person training for the Olympics and what she might be willing to do to obtain that goal adds an interesting perspective too.

    Liked by 1 person

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