About The Book
Title: Appaloosa Summer
Author: Tudor Robins
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: June 5, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary / Coming-Of Age / Romance / Horse-Themed
Format: Paperback and eBook
Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring. Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident. Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B. Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing. When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.
Appaloosa Summer can be compared to Heartland TV show - http://www.cbc.ca/heartland/
I’m staring down a line of jumps that should scare my brand-new show breeches right off me.
But it doesn’t. Major and I know our jobs here. His is to read the combination, determine the perfect take-off spot, and adjust his stride accordingly. Mine is to stay out of his way, and let him jump.
We hit the first jump just right. He clears it with an effortless arc, and all I have to do is go through my mental checklist. Heels down. Back straight. Follow his mouth.
“Good boy, Major.” One ear flicks halfway back to acknowledge my comment, but not enough to make him lose focus. A strong, easy stride to jump two, and he’s up, working for both of us, holding me perfectly balanced as we fly through the air.
He lands with extra momentum; normal at the end of a long, straight line. He self-corrects, shifting his weight back over his hocks. Next will come the surge from his muscled hind end; powering us both up, and over, the final tall vertical.
It doesn’t come, though. How can it not? “Come on!” I cluck, scuff my heels along his side. No response from my rock solid jumper.
The rails are right in front of us, but I have no horsepower – nothing – under me. By the time I think of going for my stick, it’s too late. We slam into several closely spaced rails topping a solid gate. Oh God. Oh no. Be ready, be ready, be ready. But how? There’s no good way. There are poles everywhere, and leather tangling, and dirt. In my eyes, in my nose, in my mouth.
There’s no sound from my horse. Is he as winded as me? I can’t speak, or yell, or scream. Major? Is that him on my leg? Is that why it’s numb? People come, kneel around me. I can’t see past them. I can’t sit up. My ears rush and my head spins. I’m going to throw up. “I’m going to …”
I flush the toilet. Swish out my mouth. Avoid looking in the mirror. Light hurts, my reflection hurts, everything hurts at this point in the afternoon, when the headache builds to its peak.
I’ve never lost anybody close to me. My grandpa died before I was born, and my widowed grandma’s still going strong at ninety-four. She has an eighty-nine-year-old boyfriend. They go to the racetrack; play the slots.
If I had to predict who would die first in my life, I would never, in a million years, have guessed it would be my fit, strong, seven-year-old thoroughbred.
But he did.
Thinking about it just sharpens the headache, so I press a towel against my face, blink into the soft fluffiness.
“Are you OK?” Slate’s voice comes through the door. With my mom and dad at work, Slate’s been the one to spend the last three days distracting me when I’m awake, and waking me up whenever I get into a sound sleep. Or that’s what it feels like.
“Fine.” I push the bathroom door open.
I nod. Stupid move. It hurts. Whisper instead. “Yes.”
“Well, that’s a big improvement. Just the once today.”
She follows me back to my room. She’s not a pillow-plumper or quilt-smoother – I have to struggle into my rumpled bed – but it’s nice to have her around. “I’m glad you’re here, Slatey.” I sniffle, and taste salt in the back of my throat.
I’m close to tears all the time these days. “Normal,” the doctor said. Apparently tears aren’t unreasonable after suffering a knock to the head hard enough to split my helmet in two, with my horse dropping stone cold dead underneath me in the show ring. I’m still sick of crying, though. And puking, too.
“Don’t be stupid, Meg; being here is heaven. My mom and Agate are going completely over the top organizing Aggie’s sweet sixteen. There are party planning boards everywhere, and her dance friends are always over giggling about it too.”
“Just as long as it’s not about me. I don’t want to owe you.”
“’Course not; you’re not that great of a best friend.”
Purchase The Book:
Amazon - US: http://www.amazon.com/Appaloosa-Summer-Island-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00L047CXI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408843285&sr=1-1&keywords=appaloosa+summer
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/appaloosa-summer-tudor-robins/1119821268?ean=9780993683701&itm=1&usri=appaloosa+summer
I was given a physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my review.
Beautifully written, Appaloosa Summer is a story about recovery, hope, and love. Meg and Jared, both suffering losses, can relate to each other like no one else can. Meg has lost her horse. Jared has lost his father. Meg decides to spend her summer working at a B&B to avoid dealing with her pain. This is where she meets Jared.
I loved every moment of this book. This is one of my favorite books that I have read in 2014 and so far I have read a total of 69 books so that is saying a lot. My favorite part of this book was how it was written. The way that Tudor Robins beautifully illustrates every moment made an impression in my heart. The characters are incredibly lovable and realistic. The suspense kept me wanting to read more and more. I believe that I read this book in less than 2 days; it was that good!
I hope that you will also pick up this wonderful contemporary novel and that you will let it strike a cord in your heart too!
About the Author
She gathered publishing-related experience in her roles as a magazine editor and publishing sales representative, as well as working in offset and digital printing. Tudor currently teaches writing workshops for adults and children, as well as developing writing contests and programming to motivate young writers.
Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Appaloosa Summer is now available in paperback through Amazon (link), and can also be purchased in the Kindle store.
Receiving messages from readers is one of Tudor’s favourite things, so please feel free to visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.
Connect with Tudor Robins:
I was so honored to get to interview Tudor Robins via email. Below are the questions I asked and her responses.
1. How long have you been writing novels and what is your favorite genre to write?
This is a great question! I feel like I’ve been writing novels my whole life, and it’s true, in that I started writing my first novel at a very young age (maybe around ten years old?), however, there came a point where I realized I had never finished writing a novel, and I realized nobody would ever read a novel of mine if I didn’t finish one!
As to genre, it never occurred to me that I would be a Young Adult author. What changed that is a YA writing contest. It asked for a finished manuscript of 30,000 words and I thought “I can do that”. And I did. It wasn’t very good, but it was the first draft of my first novel – Objects in Mirror – and now I love being a YA author!
2. How often do you read books? What is your favorite genre?
I read books as often as I can, and I often find I go in fits and starts based on what’s happening in my life, and whether I have a go-to author I’m really enjoying. The truth is, I feel lost if I don’t at least have a book on the go, but sometimes I’ll get through that book in twenty-four hours, and sometimes it will take a couple of weeks.
I love reading YA, partly because I love the genre, and partly to see what else is being written. I also love horse-themed books – same reason as above. Dating way back to my childhood, I also really adore a good cozy mystery, and I especially like reading those at the cottage (I can’t read scary mysteries at the cottage, though, or I can’t get to sleep!).
3. What is your all-time favorite novel?
You know how hard that question is, right? I’m tempted to cheat and give you a list, but I won’t! I’ll be disciplined and say Pride and Prejudice. In fact, that reminds me it’s about time I re-read it …
4. What was your inspiration for "Appaloosa Summer"?
Well, like Meg – the main character in Appaloosa Summer – I grew up in the city and used to spend time every summer on an island in the St. Lawrence. When I was home, I rode highly trained, well-groomed horses, and wore hairnets under my helmet, and prepared for shows. On the island I rode bareback, in my jeans and sandals, and rode everything from a very shaggy (and mean) 13-hand pony, to a mare with a new foal that followed us around all day.
Unlike Meg, I never got to spend an entire summer on the island, but I suppose I always wondered what would happen if I did. I’d like to think I would have met somebody like Jared!
5. What advice would you give to anyone seeking to write and publish their own novel?
There’s so much advice out there right now, and lots of people will tell you they know the right way for you to publish your work. I truly believe each writer has to determine her own motives for writing, and then figure out the right path for herself.
What I will say, no matter how you proceed, is you first need to finish your work (as I mentioned in question number one) and you need to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be. If you do that, it will stand the test of multiple readers, and you’ll always be proud of your work.
6. Do you own horses? If so, how many and what are their names?
I don’t own a horse but I’m always ridiculously attached to whatever horse I’m currently riding. At the moment I’m working with a super-sensitive-sometimes-runaway mare named “Jessie”. She’s teaching me so much about patience, relaxation, and the value of positive reinforcement. We’re definitely making progress together.
7. Do you own any other animals? If so, how many and what are their names?
We have two guinea pigs, and love them so much that we have a cage for them at home, and one at our cottage, and we shuttle them back and forth with us in a cat carrier. We adopted them from our neighbours, who had already named them “Kiwi” and “Molly”. Before them we had a rescue cat named “Blossom”. I was telling my family that, one of these days, I just may have a pet I get to name myself!
8. What is your funniest book related story?
My children’s school holds a huge fundraiser every year, selling used books – it’s called the Book Bonanza. When my first book came out, I had amazing support from our community – well over a hundred people came to my launch, and we sold nearly seventy books in less than two hours.
The next day my husband asked “How many of those books do you think will be at the Book Bonanza next year?”
Sure enough, when I was volunteering to sort books before the sale opened, I found a few of mine, but then they miraculously disappeared. I think some friend of mine must have swooped in and bought them to try to prevent me from seeing them!
Appaloosa Summer Event Page