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Publisher's Summary

“[A] heart-pounding, can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it debut novel.” (O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Roan Montgomery’s sweeping and raw story of courage, resilience, and clear-eyed grace will never leave me.” (Sara Gruen, number one New York Times best-selling author)

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 pause resister 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' Flowers in the Attic transfixed a generation of listeners, Susan Mihalic’s debut is set to a steady beat that will keep you listening.

©2020 Susan Mihalic. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Dark Horses

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Incredible but Very Dark.

Major trigger warning for survivors of sexual trauma. But, this story, if you can stomach it, is an incredible journey of a young woman learning to take back her life and find healing in a much more elegant way than most people would have. The descriptions of the horse competition life are spot on and the characters are complex and compelling, but very real. This book will keep me up tonight.

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Story Stays with You

This is a dark story that sheds light on how American Women man as God their way through the Dust Bowl and the Depression. Still Relevant today with Climate Change and Immigration. Great Narration. Love the Characters and the Mother Daughter Connection.

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Best Debut of 2021

Dark Horses is the incredibly dark story of fifteen-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery. She’s the daughter of an Olympian & a model, with a bright future ahead of her. Ever since she was four, her father has been sexually abusing her, and he controls every aspect of her life. Her mom is a drunk & aware of the abuse but never does anything to stop it. She’s able to endure it all until she meets Will Howard, a classmate from school, and falls in love for the first time. She soon finds herself at a crossroads...does she eliminate the distraction (Will) & follow the path that has been set for her? Or does she speak out and put an end to the abuse, even if it means losing everything she’s worked so hard for?

My heart broke into a million pieces reading this novel. There are many incredibly tough scenes of rape & emotional abuse, but I rooted for Roan & was extremely satisfied with how it all wraps up in the end. There are obviously quite a few trigger warnings that you may want to be aware of; the ones I can think of are incestuous rape, physical & emotional abuse, death of animals. If you can get past those, run out and grab yourself a copy because I guarantee this is going to nominated for awards this year, with Best Debut among them.

1 person found this helpful