Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Historical Fiction Book Review: She Who Rides Horses by Sarah V. Barnes

This morning, I have a historical fiction novel in our book review spotlight! Check out She Who Rides Horses, read my thoughts on the book, learn about the author & enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

​Book Title:  She Who Rides Horses: A Saga of the Ancient Steppe (Book One) by Sarah V. Barnes
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  267 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Publisher:  Lilith House Press 
Release date:  March 2022
Content RatingPG.  It contains two kissing scenes and the death of an animal.

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About the Book

Set more than 6,000 years ago, She Who Rides Horses: A Saga of the Ancient Steppe (Book One) begins the story of Naya, the first person to ride a horse.

Daughter of a clan chief, bolder than other girls but shunned by the boys because of her unusual appearance, Naya wanders alone through the vast grasslands where her people herd cattle and hunt wild horses for their meat. But Naya dreams of creating a different kind of relationship with the magnificent creatures.

One day, she discovers a filly with a chestnut coat as uncommon as her own head of red hair. With time running out before she is called to assume the responsibilities of adulthood, Naya embarks on a quest to gallop with the red filly across the boundless steppe.

​Unwittingly, she sets in motion forces and events that will change forever the future of humans and horses alike.
My Review

She Who Rides Horses Brings Readers a Young Adult Coming of Age Story From a Unique Historical Setting. While the world feels like a make-believe setting from a young adult fantasy novel, it is actually set thousands of years ago with real, historical facts behind the fiction. Both young Naya's unique red hair and her interest in forging a relationship with a special horse set her apart from her family and clan. With a world unfamiliar to most readers, the novel plays a role in entertaining and educating as Naya grows and finds her place in her clan and history.


Readers Should Expect to Continue the Book Series for Resolution. This novel sets the stage for several plot lines and character scenes--but there is little resolution in this book. Readers should expect to be transported to another time and place--and be left there with a to-be-continued disruption to the rest of the story.


Would I Recommend She Who Rides Horses by Sarah V. Barnes? This novel is unique for young adult fiction fans of relatively clean coming-of-age stories with a fantastic world setting and a fascinating historical base. It is a novel that is clean enough for middle-grade/teen readers who enjoy historical fiction and clan sagas. This book begins a tale with a lot of potential and loads of loose ends that leave readers hanging until the series continues. While I enjoyed Naya's character and the pieces of her life, clan, and story that I have learned, I would have liked a little more resolution to the novel's bits and parts. I will look forward to future books in the series to answer questions left after this book.

Meet the Author

Sarah V. Barnes, Ph.D. is both an historian and a horsewoman. When Sarah is not writing stories, she practices and teaches riding as a meditative art. She also offers equine-facilitated coaching and wellness workshops.

Sarah holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and spent many years as a college professor before turning full-time to riding and writing. She has two grown daughters and lives with her husband, her dogs and her horses near Boulder, CO.

connect with the author: website facebook ~  goodreads

Enter the Giveaway


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