By: Laura Wolfe
Illustrated By: Caroline Andrus
Publisher: Fire and Ice YA
Publication Date: March 2017
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: March 23, 2017
After breaking nearly every rule last summer during her time at Foxwoode’s Riding Academy, Brynlei was not sure that she would even be able to make it back for another year but fortunately she was welcomed back. For besides the fact that she broke several significant rules she did solve the mystery of Caroline’s disappearance and now Caroline is actually a Foxwoode instructor. So, even though last year was a rough three weeks for everyone involved, Brynlei is extremely thankful that she has been given another chance to ride at this prestigious camp.
This year the only thing that Brynlei is going to focus all her attention on is winning the top rider award. She is determined to not let her thoughts wander to anything besides perfecting her riding skills and expanding her horsemanship talents. Luckily her good friend Anna from last year has returned but also the spoiled rider Alyssa has returned with her amazing horse Bentley. Brynlei, however, is intent that not even Alyssa will foil her goal of achieving the top rider status.
When Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode she first notices that construction is going on outside of the current riding arena, and she is quickly informed that a brand new indoor arena and barn are being added to Foxwoode. Excited about the potential for a new barn but worried that the extra noise may cause her distraction, Brynlei silently hopes that she doesn’t let this affect her riding. To her relief Brynlei is paired with Jett, the same horse she fell in love with last year and she begins to settle into her lessons. However, despite her efforts to focus only on her riding, strange things start happening that eventually Brynlei cannot ignore.
The strange happenings begin after Brynlei finds an old fashioned doll at the edge of the construction site covered half way up with dirt. Even though this doll in an inanimate object Brynlei has a distinct feeling that through her blue eyes this doll is trying to tell her something very important. This is when the unnerving events start to happen, for Brynlei begins to notice that her bathroom supplies keep being dumped all over the floor, someone is changing the time on the clocks, and she sees strange sightings in the woods of a young girl in a cotton dress. Then to top off the strangeness Brynlei discovers a picture in the tack room of a little girl holding the same doll that Brynlei found at the construction site, but this picture is dated in the year 1965. Even though Brynlei wanted nothing to worry about besides riding she is not sure how long she can ignore the creepy things happening around the camp before they overtake her attention.
After reading Laura Wolfe’s first book in this series, Trail of Secrets, I was excited to get the chance to check out this next installment because the first one was so fun to read. The storyline for this book was actually even better for me than the first, as the supernatural aspects were more prominent for this second novel. In the first book there was a realistic answer to all of the mysterious things that happened, but for this one there is some wonderfully intriguing supernatural characters - which really added a delightful aspect to the story.
Quill says: Another great installment in the Dark Horse series that was exciting to read.