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Touch of Gold

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WINNER of the 2017 Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award!

When thirteen-year-old Jamie Francis’s parents divorced, she and her mother moved from Halifax to the small town of River Bend, Nova Scotia. Jamie doesn’t have any friends and isn’t sure how she’ll ever make any, but one day she comes across a neglected-looking horse in a field: a golden palomino she names Peach.

After meeting Peach’s widowed owner, Jamie learns that her newfound friend is being sold to tough-as-nails Valerie Scott, who runs nearby Tamarack Stables. Jamie offers to pitch in, mucking out stalls and doing chores around the barn, and becomes enchanted with the world of competitive horseback riding. She also gets to know Valerie’s teenage sons, feisty Nick and handsome Paul, and Naomi, a popular girl from school. But they’ve been riding for years, and Jamie isn’t sure she’ll ever fit in. If only she could ride Peach herself…

Will horseback-riding be the key to Jamie’s happiness, or will it gallop off into the sunset without her?

224 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2015

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About the author

Vivien Gorham

3 books15 followers
Vivien Gorham’s first novel, Touch of Gold, won the 2017 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award and was featured in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens 2016. Her second novel, Spirit of Summerwood, was published on May 10, 2022. Raised in Minnesota, Vivien has worked in the Northwest Territories, Alaska’s Denali National Park, and on a dude ranch in Montana. She now lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering in a therapeutic riding program. She loves to swim, hike, and, best of all, ride horses. Her favourite childhood horse books are The Horsemasters (1957) and Jacky Jumps to the Top (1967). She is pictured here with Lukas at Restless Pines Farm. Visit Vivien online at viviengorham.com.

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
December 26, 2019
I'm so glad I found this -- it is such a lovely book. It was the striking cover that initially caught my eye, and I bought it immediately. It's taken me a while longer than usual to read it, due to busy Christmas preparations, and I finished it last night after a very long day. I was so tired, but I managed to stay awake for another half hour so I could see how things turned out!

It all begins when Jamie finds a neglected palomino horse in a field, who she names Peach. I really loved the friendship between Jamie and Sam, Peach's owner. When Peach is sold, Jamie essentially follows her, to Tamarack Stables, and is soon a part of the day to day life there.
I really did have such a nice time reading this, and definitely recommend it to young readers, or those like me who still love a good horse story.

Vivien Gorham's author biography at the back of the book says that her favourite horse book is The Horsemasters (1957). Presuming I have the correct book in mind, it is written by Don Stanford, and I adored it as a child. I was quite pleased to be reminded of it!
Profile Image for Sarah Butland.
Author 21 books58 followers
January 18, 2016
At thirteen years old, Jamie was going through a lot of changers in her life. After her parents divorce, she moved to River Bend, Nova Scotia with her mom and tried to start over. Although she was the main human character in this novel, she might have been overshadowed by her partner, Peach, the horse and that was a fantastic twist to the story.

As a shy girl, Jamie struggled to find new friends at school but befriended a horse and cat fairly quickly. Visiting them regularly and offering treats and care, this thirteen-year-old girl immediately dreamed of taking her first lesson on this strange horses back. She decided to call the horse Peach before she knew the palomino already went by Touch of Gold or Goldie in jumping competitions.

Touch of Gold could relate a lot to Jamie, dealing with her own life changes, move and adventure of figuring out new friends. The pair were intertwined beautifully throughout the telling of their stories.

Through the tale of a young girl finding her way in a new community, we meet many other characters but Gorham was masterful at keeping them all straight for the reader. She was also brilliant at making each easily related to and with flaws you'd hope they outgrow.

The descriptions of the horses and well-written scenes made me feel like I was right inside the stables, smelling the sweat of horse and riders. With this being Gorham's first book, I am eager for her to write many more.
Profile Image for Anna.
66 reviews3 followers
February 7, 2017
LOVE. That is all I can say I'm speechless.
April 1, 2017
I loved this book! The familiar place names and the details about horsemanship were lovely. This made me feel as I did when I was a horse-loving child! I would like Ms. Gorham to write another, I'd like to keep in touch with these characters.
Profile Image for Christine Meunier.
Author 49 books48 followers
June 7, 2016
Thirteen-year-old Jamie has discovered a palomino mare in a field within riding distance of her new home. The mare appears hungry and lonely. Jamie quickly concludes she needs a friend as much as the shy thirteen-year-old does.

As Jamie visits the mare, feeds her snacks and grooms her, she starts to build a rapport with the golden equine. She decides to call her Peach. As she voices this thought out loud, an older gentleman informs her that Peach is a perfect name for her... more at http://equus-blog.com/touch-of-gold-v...
9 reviews
November 8, 2015
This a great book about a girl and a horse (enough said?). As a woman who was once a "horse-crazy" girl, I found myself really identifying with the main character. We shared many of the same experiences of falling in love with a horse and learning to ride, which I'm sure are pretty universal and will resonate with anyone who has ever owned or wanted to own a horse. I had warm-fuzzy feelings the entire time I was reading. I highly recommend this book for any "horse-crazy" kids in your life.
501 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2017
Read this book because it was on the 2017 hackmatack fiction list. I'm handing it over to my girl because I'm sure she'll enjoy it.
Profile Image for Sue Slade.
339 reviews16 followers
January 3, 2022
As a person whose family moved around a lot when she was growing up, I found this story very realistic and relatable. The lead character, 13-year-old Jamie, and her mother move to the rural community of River Bend, Nova Scotia, where she has difficulty making new friends. Instead, she befriends a neglected horse she names Peach. Middle-Graders who love horses, happily ever afters, and young love will love this story. It was nice to hear mention of communities all across the province that I'm familiar with. I will definitely be passing this along to my niece for Christmas.
Profile Image for Karen Upper.
268 reviews9 followers
May 6, 2016
I enjoyed reading this narrative and being introduced into the competitive world of show jumping! The story flowed well and the characters were well developed. Courage, determination, problem solving, and the love of an animal will endear any reader to this touching coming-of-age book! A wonderful debut novel by Gorham!
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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