Author #Top5 with Liana de La Rosa


Top Five Films Starring Horses


My new release, TO TAME A SCANDALOUS LADY, is set at a horse stud farm in Suffolk against the backdrop of the Classics horse racing circuit. While researching what life was like on a horse farm during the mid 1800s, and how a horse trainer spent their day, I found myself eager to see the beauty and majesty of horses in action. And as I don’t have access to equine friends in real life, I added some classic and newer films featuring horses to my watchlist. Here are my #TopFive horse film favorites.


  • Black Beauty (1994) – based on the classic novel by Anna Sewell of the same name, the film adaptation stars a young and dashing Sean Bean, and seriously, that should be enough to add it to your watch list. The film is a autobiographical memoir of sorts, with the titular horse, Black Beauty, serving as narrator to its life of hardship, pain, and eventually finding a forever home.


  • National Velvet (1944) – starring a 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor and a young Mickey Rooney, National Velvet tells the story of girl who trains her spirited horse to run in England’s Grand National race. But when an unexpected problem arises at the last moment, a new jockey must step in to save the day. I remember watching National Velvet as a child and loving Elizabeth Taylor’s plucky character, who is so like Flora, the heroine of TO TAME A SCANDALOUS LADY.


The Horse Whisperer (1998) – based on the novel by Nicholas Evans, The Horse Whisperer is directed by and stars Robert Redford. When Grace and her horse, Pilgrim, are involved in a deadly accident that claims the life of her best friend and horse, she becomes despondent and bitter. Pilgrim, for his part, becomes uncontrollable, but rather than put the horse down, Grace’s mother, Annie, takes her daughter and horse to visit a ‘horse whisperer’, Tom Booker, played by Redford. What follows next is a beautiful, emotional journey of healing and self realization. 


Seabiscuit (2003) – based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand, SEABISCUIT: AN AMERICAN LEGEND,  it tells the ultimate David and Goliath story about a plucky, downtrodden horse that takes on a powerful Triple Crown winner. But the movie isn’t just about the 1938 match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral; it’s also about a washed up jockey and a heartbroken businessman who overcome their painful pasts as they work with Seabiscuit to grasp success. I watched and rewatched key race scenes in Seabiscuit before writing pivotal scenes in TO TAME A SCANDALOUS LADY because they always left me filled with hope and awe, emotions I’m certain Christian and Flora, the hero and heroine, felt when their racehorses were victorious on the racetrack. In fact, a key part of Flora’s training of Asad in the book was inspired by Seabiscuit


Secretariat (2010) – There has never been, and may never be again, another horse quite like the legendary Secretariat. Standing sixteen hands high, Big Red as he was called, dominated the racing circuit, which culminated in his thirty-one length victory at the 1973 Belmont Stakes, clinching the famed Triple Crown for the first time in a quarter of a century. But as much as Secretariat is about the horse, it’s also about his owner, Penny Chenery, played by Diane Lane, a woman working in a male-dominated field to prove herself capable and competent. Watching Secretariat demolish the racing field was also a victory for Penny, who recognized her horse’s greatness from the beginning and strived for others to recognize it, as well. My heroine, Flora, would have the loudest fan in the stands cheering on Secretariat’s historic run.



Pick up Liana’s new release To Tame a Scandalous Lady, out now!


In the wake of a fire that decimates his racing stock, Christian Andrews, the Marquess of Amstead, struggles to keep his family’s stud farm from slipping into ruin and painstakingly rebuilds the program. When one of his prime stallions is injured, he notices his new assistant trainer has a special way with the horses. As talented as the trainer is, once he realizes he is a she…and a very beautiful, spirited she at that…he should sack her before scandal breaks. But it’s only weeks before the high stakes race he’s counting on to build back his fortune, and Flora should be by his side for the win.

Miserable under the weight of the ton’s expectations, headstrong Lady Flora Campbell laments her privileged life in London. Embracing her dream of working with racehorses, she disguises herself as a lad and slips away to learn as much as she can from England’s premiere expert, Christian Andrews, never thinking of the scandal she courts but the glory to be had.

Although she develops a tendre for the dashing marquess, she can never let on that she’s not only a woman, but the daughter of a duke…






Liana De la Rosa is a historical romance writer whose stories are set in the Georgian and Late Regency periods. As a longtime fan of the romance genre, Liana can remember sneaking Harlequins into her bedroom to read on the sly. After her second child was born, her husband challenged her to write her own book and she’s been writing ever since. Liana is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona and enjoys cheering on her alma mater in all things (BEAR DOWN!). When she’s not writing witty heroes, saucy heroines, and secondary characters screaming for their own stories, she’s a wannabe domestic goddess and fashionista who wrangles a rambunctious brood of small children with her patient husband in Arizona.

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