“This is a powerhouse.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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.
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.
“The novel takes every narrative hurdle as nimbly and astonishingly capably as Roan does the courses she rides. This is a powerhouse.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Dark Horses is a pulse-pounding, unflinching tale of one teenaged girl's iron-willed determination to wrest control of her life from her abuser. Roan Montgomery's sweeping and raw story of courage, resilience and clear-eyed grace will never leave me.” —Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
"Mihalic is an expert in creating narrative drive; the urge to keep reading is powerful.... A provoking and needed book." —Booklist (starred review)
"A searing examination of love and lust, power and control, as the narrator’s rising sense of self yearns to take the reins." —Kirkus(starred review)
“Mihalic astutely builds her absorbing debut novel... a narrative that reaches shattering heights. Deftly sketching the relationships here (including the relationship between horse and rider), Mihalic gives a powerful and insightful account of Roan’s abuse and her path to freedom.” —Library Journal (starred review)