A supernatural thriller about a woman finding herself and the horse she was destined to ride—before encountering a vampire.
In 2012, Silvia Milescu moves to America from Romania to be an au pair for the Bells in California’s Contra Costa County. She likes her host family, and the three young boys she cares for, but she truly loves visiting the Bells’ neighbor, Theresa, who keeps ponies on her land. Ever since Silvia was a small child, she’s been obsessed with horses, and she learned to ride them early on, against her mother’s wishes. Later, Silvia gets a weekend job at Ford Ranch, which offers trail rides, so that she can be around horses as much as possible. She’s distraught when it closes up shop to move to a less muddy location. But before too long, there are a few new horses at Theresa’s place, owned by a man named Walter; Silvia once again gets the chance to ride, and the horses’ owner even trains her in dressage. Later, at a horse show, Silvia takes second place. She knows that she’ll eventually have to leave the family that she works for, but for now, she’s enjoying her chance to learn from a master. Then she finds something new to worry about—when a vampire moves in nearby. Debut author Melecka offers an intriguing, well-written tale in this supernaturally tinged novel. However, the paranormal twist seems to come out of left field. If readers start the book expecting vampires, the first half, which focuses entirely on Silvia’s job and desire to ride, will feel like a strange, if not unpleasant, interlude. By the time the bloodsucker shows up, he feels out of place—partly because he’s suddenly providing narration.
An odd but mostly pleasing supernatural/equestrian tale.