The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

By Megan Shepherd

Illustrated by Levi Pinfold

An exceptional and moving novel about the power of the imagination, illustrated by the winner of the Kate Greenaway medal.

An exceptional and moving novel about the power of stories and the imagination from the publisher of A Monster Calls. December 1941. Britain is at war. Emmaline has been evacuated away from the bombs to Briar Hill Hospital in Shropshire. When she gets there she discovers a secret. It’s not to be shared, not to be told to anyone, even her friend Anna. But she’ll tell you. This is Emmaline’s secret. There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill. Exquisitely illustrated by Levi Pinfold, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, The Secret Horses of Briar Hill has all the makings of a modern classic.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406367584
  • Published: 13 Oct 2016
  • Price: £12.99
  • Size: 208 x 162 mm
  • Pages: 240

More to explore...

  • The-Secret-Horses-of-Briar-Hill

More books for age 9+

  • Detector-Dogs-Dynamite-Dolphins-and-More-Animals-with-Super-Sensory-Powers
  • The-Ghost-Locket
  • The-Red-Red-Dragon
  • On-the-Move-Poems-About-Migration
  • Midwinter-Burning
  • Mountainfell

Customer reviews


'“Here’s writing and illustration in perfect partnership, making a remarkable book. Astonishing!”' Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse

'A book about finding hope and beauty in the darkest of places, with exquisite, powerful illustrations from Pinfold.' The Bookseller

'Megan Shepherd has drawn on well-known tropes from children's classics and the horses are beautifully captured in descriptions as well as Levi Pinfold's pencil drawings. The Black Horse swoops menacingly overhead, symbolising German bombers and the ever present threat of death. A powerful story.' Irish News

'There is a classic feel about Emmaline’s story, which is enhanced by Kate Greenaway award-winner Levi Pinfold’s stunning and delicate pencil illustrations. This is a magic-realist, bittersweet story about children in wartime.' BookTrust

'Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis's Narnia and Michael Morpurgo books it explores friendship, love and loss. Wonderfully illustrated by Levi Pinfold his atmospheric paintings of horses and war time life will captivate history, art and animals lovers alike and make a wonderful gift.' South Wales Evening Post

'It's a powerful story that will no doubt find a place, alongside the classics, in children's hearts.' The Belfast Telegraph

'[...] a glorious story celebrating the beauty of both the imagination and stories. Movingly set in World War 2 and the horrors of this time, this book will move you and enthrall.' Armadillo

'A powerful story that will find a place in children's hearts.' Daily Post

'Take one look at the cover and you will be enthralled - a riveting read about the Second World War.' Sunday Independent, Dublin

'[...] both unusual and moving.' Newbury Weekly News

'“This is a very special book indeed. Not only because of the sheer beauty of its production, illustrated as it is by Greenaway medal winner Levi pinfold, known for his exquisite colour, mesmerising picture books, but here demonstrating what he can do with simple line and restricted to black and white. But also because it is an enthralling, moving and evocative tale set in the midst of World War Two. […] This is a beautifully written story of bravery and resilience with a terrific sense of time and place and which reminds us all of the fragility of life. Highly recommended do thoughtful readers of any age.”' The School Librarian

'“The book was clear and well written and I got quite engrossed in it; the illustrations were a nice touch and added to the story.”' Teen titles Reader review

'“Timeless and timely, exquisite writing and illustration, this novel for ages 9+ gives the reader much to think about while exploring a wonder-filled landscape of both reality and imagination.”' Fallen Star Stories

'Shepherd weaves fantasy with reality to create colour in a bleak world. Emmaline deals with the anger and helplessness that illness, grief and the realisation of her own mortality bring with them.' Children's Books Ireland - Mind Yourself

Write your own review

By submitting a review you grant us the right to display and use it in any way; please read our General Legal Notices for full details. If you are under 16, please obtain your parent/guardian’s permission before submitting or ask your parent/guardian to submit on your behalf.


Find your local bookshop:


  • Awards:

Also available in:


Recently viewed