Sierras provide backdrop for ­compelling paranormal adventure

Sierras provide backdrop for ­compelling paranormal adventure

Sierras provide backdrop for ­compelling paranormal adventure(May 2, 2024) — We think nothing of hindsight, but what of foresight?

In “Sierra Blue,” Suzanne Morgan Williams has written a splendid story of a young girl’s strange ability to see the auras of both animals and humans. Tied to this pseudo-scientific attribute is the fate of a seriously injured thoroughbred filly named Sierra Blue.

In addition to auras, Magic Kendall’s “gift” often includes foreboding visions or feelings. I’m not a fan of paranormal novels, but “Sierra Blue” may change that.

Like most 14-year-olds, Magic wants to be a popular student not a freak. She is not comfortable with the colors she sees or how they tell her what an animal is feeling. She knows nobody else sees what she does.

She no longer tries to convince her parents, and only when she is 8 does her best friend Celine guess about the colors. “Don’t tell anyone. They’ll think you’re crazy,” Celine says.

Years later, at a slumber party, Celine tells of Magic’s seeing colors that enable her to communicate with animals. Before the semester is over, Magic is teased unmercifully by everyone at school. She will never be popular, have a boyfriend or be as pretty as the other girls.


Keeping secrets is hard, but so is feeling empathy for a self-centered, mouthy teen. But changes come when she goes to Aunt Leah’s small California horse ranch east of the Sierras. Ibis Springs is only slightly smaller than its nearby town of Willow Bridge and nothing like her hometown of Tillamook, Ore.

Leah, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, is happy for Magic’s help. There is barn cleaning, tack maintenance and preparing the horses for handicap riding lessons. Competing with Magic’s desire to hide her visions are the obligations to others that her time at Leah’s ranch demands.

On the day Leah is expecting the arrival of a thoroughbred filly she is to train for racing, a severe storm turns into rain and snow – causing the truck and trailer hauling the filly to crash. Both pickup and horse trailer are down an embankment. The first to arrive at the scene is Magic, who had been caught in the storm while riding a bike.

The rescue scene is spectacular and, from there, the novel takes off in every direction. What will it take to save the filly? How much will Magic be a part of that? What effect do the riders with disabilities have on Magic? Will she stay at Leah’s longer than planned?

Williams moves her story at break-neck speeds, with a few stops, then at it again. I can’t say more without a spoiler. It is enough to know that I read the book twice.

I’m not sure I’m ready for more paranormal novels, but I will keep my eye out for the Kentucky Derby and every single horse event at this year’s Olympic Games.

Visit Sunny Solomon’s website at for her latest recommendations or just to ‘talk books.’

Read more book reviews from Sunny Solomon.

Sunny Solomon
Sunny Solomon
Freelance writer at Clayton Book Club | Website

Sunny Solomon holds an MA in English/Creative Writing, San Francisco State University. She is a book reviewer for “The Clayton Pioneer” and her poetry and other writing has been published in literary journals, one chapbook, In the Company of Hope and the collection, Six Poets Sixty-six Poems. She was the happy manager of Bonanza Books, Clayton, CA and Clayton Books, Clayton, CA. She continues to moderate a thriving book club that survived the closure of the store from which it began. Sunny currently lives next to the Truckee in Reno, NV.