Editorial Review: Rise to the Horizon by Hyunah KIM

Editorial Review: Rise to the Horizon by Hyunah KIM

The lives of a traumatized thoroughbred show-jumping horse and a young man with the gift of communicating with horses cross paths in this heartwarming tale of second chances. 

Rise to the Horizon is set in early 1990s Austria, where Martha and her husband Karl own a thoroughbred show-jumping horse named Poseidon. For Martha, the horse is not just a prize winner but precious enough that she loves him like the son she never had. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when a carelessly discarded cigarette butt causes a devastating fire at their horse ranch. Martha risks her life-saving Poseidon from the burning barn, but the horse ends up being traumatized by the burn wounds he sustains in the fire. However, Martha refuses to accept the vet's suggestion that Poseidon be euthanized after becoming aggressive and hurting anyone who comes near him. Instead, she decides to entrust Poseidon to the care of a young man named Axel.

Axel is a painter who has spent his whole life around horses on his grandparents' stud farm. The young man is no stranger to tragedy himself, and after his mother eloped when he was only five years old, he grew up with his grandmother and a special horse named Frühling. Axel earned himself a reputation as a horse whisperer thanks to his unique ability to communicate with horses, so Martha knows he might be the only person who can save Poseidon. Rise to the Horizon follows the story of how Poseidon and Axel first meet and how they quickly become almost inseparable. 

Although both their lives were touched by tragedy, Rise to the Horizon is a story about second chances and the magical bond that can be formed between humans and animals. Thanks to his kindness, patience, and caring, Axel manages to transform Poseidon, but the horse is able to return the favor when the young man experiences some fresh heartache of his own. Hyunah KIM clearly loves horses, which becomes very apparent in how she writes about them in this book. There are even a few scenes written from the perspective of Poseidon that will charm anyone who has spent time around horses. While the story is brief, it covers a lot of emotional events that take place in the lives of Poseidon and Axel over the course of about two years. It's definitely a story that tugs on the heartstrings, especially if you love animals, but there's always an undercurrent of hope.

Rise to the Horizon will appeal the most to readers who love horses, but the engaging writing and interesting premise make it easy to recommend to anyone who loves a good story.