The Secrets of Emberwild by author Stephenia H. McGee is a Christian historical novel that includes something for everyone. If you love horses and history along with mystery, adventure, danger, romance, inspiration, or twists and turns, you will not want to miss this fabulous book. It also will give you a taste of southern hospitality.
This is the story of Nora, an independent, sassy young lady that resides on a horse farm. Her desire is to race and train horses. It is also the story of Silas, a horse trainer looking for his father’s killer from fifteen years ago.
Set in 1905 at Mississippi’s Emberwild Horse Farm, the story focuses on Nora and her family. She has a passion for horses, but her family believes she should be a proper lady and leave the training and racing of horses to men. Nora loves her family, but disagrees with them on this. She is excellent with the horses and the only one that can handle the spirited one named Arrow.
At the beginning of this novel, Nora’s father tells Nora a secret as he is dying. Her Uncle Amos goes to them and announces that everything has been left to him so that he can take care of her mother. Things are changing and confusing so Nora decides to find out what the truth really is.
The author has done an excellent job with this story. The characters are relatable and easy to like. There are some surprises that will keep readers on their toes. The information on southern horse farms and horse racing was very well written. It is obvious the author did her research well.
For me, I thought the insight into what was allowed women during this era was eye-opening. I loved Nora’s grit and determination. It was fun learning about harness racing. Living near Louisville, Kentucky with Kentucky grandparents, I have an appreciation for beautiful racehorses. It was nice to glean more information on them. My only complaint is that the Christian inspirational message was very weak and skimpy. I like Christian books to have the inspirational message strongly present.
I was invested in the story and characters within the first couple of chapters. The more I read, the faster I turned the pages. I was eager to see what could happen next. It is a very good book, and I highly recommend it. I give it a 5 star rating. A copy was provided by the publisher and Net Galley, but these are my honest words.