Friday, February 3, 2012

Heroes and Hounds by Bill Miller

You are so lucky to have stopped by my blog today as I have an amazing author and new novel to share with you.  Big thanks go our to Nurture Your Book Tourz for allowing me a stop on this fantastic tour!

About the Novel:

Heroes and Hounds is a wonderfully charming story about a young girl’s adventures with her pony and her friend as she seeks to fulfill her dream of riding “to the hounds” with the hunt. Although the story is written for young audiences, it has multi-generational appeal as it touches on such issues as the plight of families with parents in military service and the welfare of veterans. Anyone who loves horses, dogs and other animals will enjoy this book. The illustrations are beautiful and create a nostalgia of their own in their old-style look reminiscent of children’s books decades ago.

Carly is 11 years old and lives with her grandfather on a 200-acre Virginia farm while both parents serve in the military overseas.  She loves the farm, and befriends all of the animals including a sneaky red fox that stalks her grandfather’s prize chickens. Her best friend is her pony, Monroe, who shares her enthusiasm for adventure.  Carly’s constant dream is to ride with the Riverdale Hunt Club that passes through her grandfather’s property.

On one particularly rainy Saturday, Carly watches from her front porch as the finely dressed ladies and gentlemen ride to the hounds.  Later in the day, Carly finds out that a young hound named Hampton has become lost and Carly is determined to find him and by so doing endear herself to the hunt’s Master; perhaps to be asked to ride Monroe in an upcoming meet.  Carly enlists the help of her friend, Freddie, but the adventure is just beginning.  Carly, Monroe, Hampton and the red fox have no idea what’s dangers await them.

About the Author:

Bill Miller has been riding to the hounds for the over 40 years. For nearly 20 years he has been an honorary whipper-in for the Norfolk Hunt Club. Bill is also actively involved in Team Penning during the summer months. He lives on a small farm in Sherborn, Massachusetts with his wife, three horses and dog.. When not working with horses, Bill is an independent film director and cinematogrpaher. His TV shows and commercials have been viewed by millions worldwide and he has won three Emmys and numerous other industry awards. He has also been widely published in trade magazines. Bill is also creative director for Spirit of the American Cowboy Foundation, a non-profit organization which raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Book Excerpt:

    The sun was fiery red as it came up over the hill spreading welcome daylight throughout the valley. It reflected off a puddle and right into the sleeping face of Hampton who had holed up in the cement tube for the night. He slowly opened one eye. Then the other. He sniffed the air, drinking in the smells of a new October day. It was the sweet smell that lingers after a heavy rainfall. The sun was out, but the air was still heavy, leaving fog in the valley and steam rising from golden, wet leaves, which in a few days would say good-bye to their summer branches and float down to Earth. The sunlight cut beams through the changing autumn trees making the vivid colors even more vibrant.

    Hampton licked his leg. It was stiff from the mud that had hardened into a rather effective cast. The hound balanced on three legs, not yet trusting his injured leg to bear any weight. Slowly Hampton shifted his balance to test the pain level. To his surprise, the leg felt pretty good. The hairs of his coat were dry and stiff, sticking out at funny angles. Hampton didn’t care much about the way he looked. He wanted to get home. And he couldn’t believe how hungry he was.

    He lifted his nose to the air and picked up the most powerful smell he had ever experienced. It almost knocked him over which wouldn’t have been hard to do in Hampton’s condition. He trotted off in the direction of the smell that hovered just above his outstretched nose. He thought this odd, having been trained to follow scents much closer to the ground. Hampton knew this might lead to a meal. Often in the evening back at the kennel, strong odors wafted over the exercise yards. He never could figure just what these smells meant, but somehow he thought food might be involved. Most good scents led to a reward at the end of the run. Hampton hoped the reward at the end of this run would be breakfast. He followed the scent as it drifted down a dirt road. The scent got stronger and stronger. Hampton crossed a small creek and limped up a hill where a rusted, worn out, battered house trailer sat in a small clearing. Over the years, the paint had cracked and faded and rust bullied its way across the metal sides. Many years ago, the house trailer had been painted rainbow colors, which swirled and danced across the roof and sides. At one time it must have been the pride and joy of the Woodstock generation. Now it sat as a decaying monument to a forgotten era. Something inside smelled good to Hampton.

My Thoughts:

Well if this isn't a dynamite novel, I don't know what is!  This is a story that I will keep so that my own kids can read it when they are older, it is one that I can see becoming a family tradition to read. 

I loved so many things about this novel there is no way I could list them all - the characters, the setting, the morals taught, the compassion for animals, the endearing grandparents, etc.  Any novel set in Virginia is going to peak my interest because that is my home state and I love it.  A farm in Virginia is even better!

I am a big cover person and many times that can make or break my decision to read a novel, this one was beautiful and I thought it was very inviting.

Young people will love the adventure that Carly and Freddie embark on - this will definitely keep readers' attention.  It is a delightful story and one that you carry with you in your heart even after you close the last page.  Kudos to the author, this is a fantastic read - best of luck with the rest of the tour!


  1. What a lovely review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  2. Young people will like the book, well I'm way older than a young people and I know I'd enjoy reading the adventures myself :}


  3. That's true Julie. I have found that adults like the book as much, if not more, than young people. Thanks for pointing that out. Bill Miller, author.