You don’t have to truly understand everything that was taking place in this novel to truly enjoy it. The more that I thought about this novel, the more that I understood the essence of the novel and the more I loved it. It’s a journey that begins when Emmaline discovers what lies within the mirrors of Briar Hill Hospital. This hospital was once the home of a princess but is now the home to children with stillwaters (tuberculosis). Emmaline and her roommate Anna are the only two individuals who claim they can see what is in the mirrors, a secret that they now share privately. Emmaline tries to fit in amongst the other children but since her comment the first day about what she saw in the mirrors, some children have been antagonizing her. As she escapes one such taunting, she dashes beyond the kitchen terrace, where no children are allowed, to a place where she feels safe.
It can’t be. One of the images from the mirror has slipped through to her world and now stands before her. It is wounded though. It’s a magical and emotional time as Emmaline is faced with decisions regarding the winged horse from the mirror. Anna, her roommate is slowly dying and Emmaline has been told to keep calm around her yet the excitement and intensity of this new development is hard to keep contained. Anna is the only person who she can share this excitement with and she wants to tell Anna everything. As Emmaline sleeps, she hears hoofprints on the roof and realizes that it cannot be her winged horse as it was injured. Checking on the horse the next day, she finds a note from The Horse Lord. He asks Emmaline help in protecting the injured horse Foxfire, from the Black Horse who is out to hurt her. He leaves Emmaline instructions, if she is willing to help. This is a huge responsibility with the war going on and a huge risk for Emmaline. It was an intense and exciting journey as the rest of the novel played out.
I fell head first into the magical elements of this story. I enjoyed Emmaline’s commitment to do what she thought was right and how creative she was. Her age showed as she sometimes acted before she thought things through and I loved how she acted from her heart. This was a beautiful story, a story that you will not forget when you close the final pages. I think it would make an excellent bedtime story or a read aloud. I can’t wait to share it with others.