Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Touch of Gold
Publish December 3, 2015
In her debut YA novel, Touch of Gold, author Vivien Gorham offers readers a thoughtful, moving story of friendship, determination, and courage, exploring the world of competitive horseback riding and the unexpected, yet unbreakable bond between a lonesome young girl and a skinny palomino mare she comes to love and name Peach. Having just moved with her now-divorced mom from Halifax to the small town of River Bend, Nova Scotia, Jamie Francis, 13, has yet to make any friends and feels like an outsider. Riding her bike home from school one day, she happens upon a neglected-looking palomino in a field. The pair becomes fast friends because Jamie visits the horse each day after school, bringing her treats and grooming her knotted, mud-filled coat through the fence. After meeting Sam, Peach’s widowed owner, Jamie learns that Touch of Gold (the horse’s real name) is being sold to Valerie Scott, the steely owner of nearby Tamarack Stables. Desperate to be near Peach, Jamie volunteers to help around the barn. She soon becomes enamoured with not only competitive horseback riding, but also Valerie’s teenaged sons, the older handsome Paul and the spunky, talented Nick. But Paul, Nick, and Valerie have been riding for almost forever, and self-conscious Jamie isn’t sure she’ll ever fit in. Determined that horseback riding is her key to happiness, Jamie asks Val if she can ride Peach. And Val’s surprising answer sets Jamie off on an unanticipated yet most-welcomed journey of self-discovery. Well-paced and engaging, with a relatable protagonist to cheer for, Touch of Gold is a tender coming-of-age story, adeptly celebrating the ups and downs of young love, the joy of animals and the life-affirming companionship they give, and the intoxicating power of taking chances and believing in oneself.
Nimbus Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 13: 978-177-108-324-9
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