We had the perfect weather for our second-ever joint event with The Cole Harbour Heritage Farm and Museum. On Sunday, July 16th we launched Vivien Gorham’s second, middle-grade novel Spirit of Summerwood published by Nimbus Publishing.
Book Blurb: A stand-alone follow-up to the award-winning middle-grade novel Touch of Gold, set at a horse camp with a mysterious past, featuring themes of allyship, friendship, and activism.
It’s finally summer, and for twelve-year-old Aislinn, that means two sweet, uninterrupted weeks at her favourite place in the world—Summerwood Farm. At Summerwood’s all-girl horse camp, Aislinn is surrounded by all the things she loves most: her Arabian, Firefly; her best friend, Jill; and her mentor, Grace.
But this year, things are different from day one.
There’s a boy at camp, Grace seems tense, and rumours swirl about the stable’s land being sold. Not to mention, Aislinn keeps seeing things no one else can—a fox, an owl, and even a ghostly boy who seems to need her help—and her visions are starting to affect her riding and her friendships. So one starry night, Aislinn sneaks out to meet the ghost boy and hear his story. She also learns about the Indigenous history of the land around Summerwood, and what life was like for residents of a former Poor Farm that was in the same area. But, as Aislinn soon finds out, all actions have consequences and she faces serious punishment for breaking Summerwood’s rules.
With stumbles and false starts, we follow Aislinn as she strives to become an environmental activist, an Indigenous ally, and a better friend. We see her make mistakes, learn, grow, and change. A true coming-of-age story with elements of magical realism and authentic equestrian themes, Spirit of Summerwood is destined to become a summer-time favourite.
Vivien Gorham has been writing stories and riding horses since she was five years old. She grew up in Minnesota but has lived in Nova Scotia with her family for over 30 years, Her favourite job, on a dude ranch in Montana, included a horseback pack trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, where she terrified her trail partner by dangling her legs over the Continental Divide. She’s also hit many other trails, everything from a mule ride in the Grand Canyon to a jaunt guided by a Swiss Cowboy in the Northwest Territories.
Vivien’s first book, Touch of Gold, was published in 2015. It won the 2017 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award. It won the 2017 Children’s Choice Book Award and was featured in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teen 2016. Spirit of Summerwood is her second book.
In her spare time, Vivien enjoys volunteering with the Halifax Lancers’ therapeutic riding program. She also loves to swim, hike, and walk her dog in the Cole Harbour Heritage Park, where most of Spirit Of Summerwood takes place.
To find out more about Vivien and her books, visit her online at viviengoham.com or her author’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/viviengorhamauthor. Signed copies can be found at Dartmouth Book Exchange.