The Artful Living Experience

Dark Horses - A Novel by Susan Mihalic

Book Clubs

Susan Mihalic is available to talk to your book club, group. or interested parties via Zoom. Just contact us to get your date scheduled. Read below what the media are saying about Dark Horses. To secure a date for Susan to talk to your book group contact Susan here or at

About Dark Horses

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.

Media Reviews

Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

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 Mongtomery's sweeping and raw story of courage, resilience and clear-eyed grace will never leave me.

A Most Anticipated Books of 2021: [A] heart-pounding, can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it debut novel.

Booklist (starred review)

Mihalic is an expert in creating narrative drive; the urge to keep reading is powerful...A provoking and needed book.

Kirkus Reviews (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.

Library Journal (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.

Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

Mihalic's taut, bracing debut takes a daringly understated approach to its exploration of sexual abuse...The novel takes every narrative hurdle as nimbly and astonishingly capably as Roan does the courses she rides. This is a powerhouse.

Dark Horses novel is available at any Barns & Noble, Amazon,
and other fine bookstores.