Brooke, Lauren

Lauren Brooke does not exist: she is a publisher’s construct. Two series, Heartland and Chestnut Hill, have been produced under the name. The initial idea for the books came from a British author, Linda Chapman, who originally set the series in Cheshire, England. When an American publisher picked Heartland up, the location was changed to Virginia, USA. Most of the books were written by Linda and fellow British author Gill Harvey, with the remainder by Elisabeth Faith.

The Heartland series is set at an American horse sanctuary run by teenager Amy Fleming, her grandfather, sister and boyfriend. Amy is a realistic teenager, if immensely talented at time management (not only does she heal horses, and help run the family business, she gets through school and has a relationship). The series relies heavily on modern theories of re-schooling, like Monty Roberts’ join-up and Linda Tellington’s T-touch. More traditional methods of re-schooling don’t tend to be looked on particularly positively.

The series starts in tragedy, when Amy’s mother is killed, and progresses through 20 titles and five special editions until Amy is in vet school. The series has been immensely popular, and is still in print. CBC have made a television series called Heartland.

Having installed Amy at vet school, Lauren Brooke then produced a new series: Chestnut Hill. Linda Chapman and Gill Harvey are no longer responsible, with Catherine Hapka joining Elisabeth Faith as series authors. Chestnut Hill revolves around a quartet of heroines, who go to an incredibly well equipped American boarding school, where riding is very much on the curriculum. The emphasis is different to Heartland’s: boys certainly feature, but in a less serious way. Shopping, however, is much more important.The series lack the emotional pull of Amy and her tragic situation, and its concentration on material possessions begins, after you have read several titles, to seem cynical. Chestnut Hill appears to have stopped at twelve titles; it doesn’t seem to have been as popular as Heartland.

There have been no further titles under the Lauren Brooke name. Although the publishers had a Lauren Brooke site, with biographical details, these were just as much a story as the books. Scholastic now appear to have dropped the site; an 'interview' with the author also appears to have disappeared from the net.

Coming Home
After the Storm
Breaking Free
Taking Chances
Come What May
One Day You’ll Know
Out of the Darkness
Thicker than Water
Every New Day
Tomorrow’s Promise
True Enough
Sooner or Later
Darkest Hour
Everything Changes
Love is a Gift
Holding Fast
A Season of Hope
New Beginnings
From This Day On
Always There

Special Editions
Winter Memories
Amy's Journal
Beyond the Horizon
Winter's Gift
A Summer to Remember

Chestnut Hill
The New Class
Making Strides
Heart of Gold
Playing for Keeps
Team Spirit
All or Nothing
A Time to Remember
Chasing Dreams
Helping Hands
Racing Hearts
A Chance to Shine
Far and Away

Finding the books
All are still in print, and are easily available on the secondhand market.

Links and sources
Conversations with Linda Chapman
More on Linda Chapman and her books
My review of Heartland
My review of Chestnut Hill
The CBC television series

A note on the bibliographies: I’ve mostly shown the early editions of the books, as that’s what I have. Both series are being reprinted with different covers. Thanks to everyone on my Forum and Facebook page for their help with this page.