5 Star Review from Jane Finch at Reader's Favorite. "The first of a series, Sweetbriars is the stuff of horse lovers' dreams. The author, Hollie Anne Marsh, has written a lovely story that is sure to appeal to horse lovers everywhere, and is ideal for the eight to twelve age range. Sweetbriars is well described in visual detail, leaving the reader feeling as if they have been there. It sounds like every young horse lover's dream home. Cate is a believable and likeable character who appeals to the reader, and her lovely palomino horse, Odette, will have horse enthusiasts drooling. A steady pace and a lovely and consistent story that will transport the horse devotee to a world surely every young equestrian enthusiast will crave."
5 Star Review from Children's Author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. "I certainly enjoyed Hollie Anne Marsh's first book; Sweetbriars, Leaving The City. It shares vivid descriptions of the characters and their horses. Readers will feel like they are taking the journey along with the author. It is a must-have for horse lovers, who will not only love the story, but also learn a great deal about horses, and competitions. Beginner readers will be pleased to know there is a glossary at the end, explaining some of the terms that may be unfamiliar to them. I think this is a delightful story, so I'm pleased to give it a high rating. I look forward to the next book in the series. Congratulations on a job well done." Review taken from Amazon & Goodreads
5 Star Review from Author and Poet, Susan Marie Molloy. "What an absolutely sweet and engaging story! I am weak for anything about horses, and I had a feeling this novel would feed my “affliction,” and it did, in fact. This story swept me away. I can’t say enough good about “Leaving the City.” The masterful writing skills of the author impressed me greatly. I was reading a story, yet I felt completely immersed in the tale, the environments, the conversations, and the understanding of different personalities and cultures. At the end of this wonderful, wonderful story is a chapter on all the horse lingo—“from ears to tail”—that the reader should know to help round the understand of everything equestrian. This book brought back some good memories for me, in the days of my childhood where I sometimes rode horses at the stable just eight blocks from my house, to the mornings after breakfast when I would ride my bicycle to that stable, sit on the fence, and watch and dream while I watched older kids take lessons. It was a rare occasion when I would have the three dollars saved so I could ride a horse for one hour in the ring, or venture across the street to the forest preserve and pretend I was Joan of Arc or Dale Evans (It didn’t matter who, as long as I was riding a horse!). “Leaving the City” has a lot of scenarios that are reminiscent of events I personally went through: Changing towns and schools at “that awkward pre-teen age” stage, my love of horses and riding, and the politics of making new friends and navigating a new type of life. I highly recommend “Leaving the City.” This is a good book for those who love horses and enjoy stories of growing up. I give it ten out of ten horseshoes. It would make a dandy, thoughtful gift for a young person who loves to read, and who wants to get lost in the equestrian world." Review taken from Amazon & Goodreads
5 Star Review from Author and Blogger, Heather Wallace, The Timid Rider. "Sweetbriars, Leaving the City is the debut novel by Hollie Anne Marsh and the first book of the Sweetbriars series. From the beginning, it is clear the author knows horses. Her detail of barn life, training, Pony Club, and more is apparent and easy to follow for horse lovers and equestrians alike no matter if they are experienced or not. This book sets the stage and while fun to read provides more of an overview and introduction to the characters, both human and horse. I look forward to reading the other books and learning more about the individual characters and relationships as they progress and grow. This series has the makings of a Saddle Club for young readers, and I look forward to the next instalment. More, I think my daughters would love it as well!" Review taken from Amazon & Goodreads
"Marsh's book is well-plotted and well-paced. The narrative is appropriate for the target audience, teaching lessons of discipline, patience, and perseverance. The prose is solid, smooth, effective, and enjoyable to read." The Booklife Prize 5 Star Review from Horse Book Reviews Blogspot. "A delightful story about a young horse lover in England. A coming-of-age story with lovely equine details."
"Leaving The City is highly horse focused and has a lot of educational information. The way it is provided is woven easily throughout the story and the reader gets to learn about many facets of horses. There is showing, dressage, show jumping, horse care, nutrition and much more. It’s an entertaining read whilst also highly educational. Twelve year old Cate battles through disappointments as well as loneliness. She has left her close friends and feels estranged at a new school. Even Pony Club is different and she isn’t sure one of the instructor’s likes her at all. And then her best friend Beth becomes distant. Suddenly it seems to Cate that the move to Sweetbriars wasn’t a good thing at all. Cate is determined not to complain when the rest of her family seems to be settling in well. In fact, they are loving their new life, so she presses on. In time the pre-teen develops new friends and learns things aren’t always as they appear. She even discovers a new discipline that she hadn’t anticipated enjoying. Sweetbriars: Leaving the City is a great introduction to this series. It moves at a good pace, is sure to enthral horse fans, whilst also teaching them a few things." www.equus-blog.com
"My name is Grace and I am 11 years old. Sweetbriars is a wonderful place filled with exciting people, I love the characters because they have friendly and fun personalities. Every character has a love for animals or finds their love for them. Sweetbriars is an exciting story it's perfect for horsey boys and girls, I found it easy to read and I am definitely excited to read the rest of the series. I loved the descriptions of the horses and characters and it is the type of book I would buy and I can't wait for the next book. Thank you for giving me the book, I will tell all my friends about it."
"My daughter and I both found reading this book enjoyable as we are both horse crazy. It also gave us some lovely together time while we chatted about how we found the book and what we would have done in in a similar situation to the story. It is a good read for young teenagers and horse loving adults to share!" Friel Family
"My kids really enjoyed Leaving The City and didn't put it down until they read the whole book! Even my lad enjoyed it! And he loves his Tom gates books, but he put that down to read this! Really good work! I'd definitely buy your books!" Poole Family
"Leaving The City is a very interesting story and I would like to read more about the Sullivan’s and their adventures. Frieda really enjoyed reading your sample and is very excited to see more from you. Thank you for the opportunity to preview your book!” Sincerely, Malitsky Family
"It’s been a big hit! Thank you, I love seeing my kids read." Bashman Family
"We found it easy to read and get into. The descriptions made us feel like we were there and it was a great introduction. Gently setting the scene. Olivia liked Cate and she reminded her of herself. We would like to read more. I think that there is still room in the market for this type of book." Gleed Family
"Hi, what a lovely story idea and very easy to read. I think you are onto a winner. I really loved the story and could see it as a TV program like the saddle club, Devon is a beautiful place." Morton Family
"My sister loved the book! She wants to know whether there's anymore! X" Watton Family
"It's very interesting and makes me want to read more. I love the characters. It made brilliant reading xx Thank you x" Morphey Family
"My son has been reading and loves it. He said it was really interesting and easy to understand. He wants to read it all." Hughes Family
"My daughter really enjoyed it… she loved everything about it, thank you for letting her read it." Paramore Family
"My 12 year old daughter (Isabelle) has finished reading Leaving The City today. She said it was very interesting, strong characters and would definitely like to read more." Nichols Family
Permission kindly granted by Matthew Burnett to use the image of Treliver Decanter at the top of this page. Photography by Katie Amos.