Chapman, Linda

About the author

Linda Chapman lives in Leicestershire with her family, dogs, and ponies. She has written widely for children, and her many series include skating and mermaids. She’s written several pony-orientated series for the younger reader; at least they involve unicorns, but as The Secret Unicorn series is about a pony who turns into a unicorn, I’ve counted it as a pony story. The Secret Unicorn series is readable and well observed: although there’s not as much pony content as some series, the characters and situations are attractive.

Linda stuck with unicorns for her Unicorn School series. Linda, who describes this series as “school stories with unicorns,” and told me this wasn’t one of her favourites. Her Sky Horses series is for the older reader. She says:

“The Sky Horses books I have written (it is a quartet) is part pony story – girl mad about ponies, helps at riding school, gets bullied by older girls, ends up standing up to them and at the very end getting a pony on loan, and part fantasy horse story (there are magnificent sky horses who control the weather, one, a stallion, has been captured by a dark spirit and brought to Earth and Erin, the heroine, has to free him). It is more fantasy than pony story although I liked writing the pony bits best. I didn’t have the length in the books to go into the pony story in as much detail as I would have liked. It is a spin-off of my popular Stardust (non-pony) series.”

Linda has written books under other author names: she’s contributed some of the Lucy Daniels’ Animal Ark series. She said: “I wrote five of under the Lucy Daniels umbrella name – The Horseshoe Trilogies but they are published in the US, only the first three were published here (under the title Perfect Ponies).”

If you are a Heartland fan, you will probably have read some Linda Chapman, as she is one of the authors behind the Lauren Brooke brand. The original Heartland concept was Linda’s: the stories were originally supposed to be set in Cheshire, but when an American publisher wanted to buy the series, it was relocated. She told me “I was rather terrified at first because of the differences with the horse world here and there even when taking Western riding out of the equation. The potential for mistakes seemed huge. I set it in Virginia because that seemed the closest to the kind of horse scene I could recognise. I wrote Heartland books 1-6, 8, 10 and 12, writing the last few alternately with Gill Harvey.”

Linda was keen, after writing Heartland, to write a horsy series for older readers, and she then wrote the Loving Spirit quartet. This is a well-observed picture of a girl who has come to England to start a new life, where she has to battle with grief, an unsympathetic uncle, and living in a busy showing yard. She is helped by the relationships she fosters with her cousin, and with her horse, Spirit. I enjoyed this series: it has vivid characters, and the showing background is fascinating.

Linda Chapman is still writing, and has several horsy stories in the pipeline.

Finding the books
All are still in print

Links and sources
Linda Chapman’s website
Conversations with Linda Chapman


Secret Unicorn
The Magic Spell
Dreams Come True
Flying High
Stronger Than Magic
Starlight Surprise
A Special Friend
A Winter Wish
Snowy Dreams
Twilight Magic
Friends Forever
Rising Star
Starry Skies
A Touch of Magic
Moonlight Journey
Keeper of Magic

Unicorn School
First Class Friends
The Surprise Party
The Treasure Hunt
The School Play
The Pet Show
Team Magic

Sky Horses
Cloud Magic
The Royal Foal
The Whispering Tree
The Eye of the Storm

Loving Spirit
Loving Spirit

Bibliography (pony books only)


Puffin Books, London, 2002, illus Biz Hull, 110 pp.

Lauren Foster has always longed for a pony. When her family move to the country, finally her dream comes true. When she looks at her pony, Twilight, she begins to wonder…. Is he like the pony she’s read about? One who looks perfectly ordinary but who turns into a unicorn?


Puffin Books, London, 2002, illus Biz Hull, 120 pp.

Shadow is a young pony who is too afraid to jump. It is only Twilight who can give him the courage to jump, but one stormy night, Shadow has to face danger, and his fears, alone.

flying high

Puffin Books, London, 2002, illus Biz Hull, 118 pp.

Read my review of the book

Jessica’s parents are divorced, and she doesn’t want her father to re-marry. She’s so unhappy she runs away from home. If Lauren and Twilight help her, will their secret still stay safe?

stronger than magic

Puffin Books, London, 2003, illus Biz Hull, 121 pp.

Lauren and Twilight have been very busy helping her schoolfriends, but Twilight falls ill. Lauren realises he’s been getting weaker and weaker because he’s been using his powers so often to help her friends with little things. Then Lauren’s little brother goes missing, and Twilight has to summon all his strength to help.

starlight surprise

Puffin Books, London, 2003, illus Biz Hull, 130 pp.

Read my review of the book

Lauren’s little brother Max has bad dreams about a tree house in the woods. He’s convinced it’s haunted. Lauren thinks this can’t be so, but she and Twilight investigate. What they discover is a group of selfish boys who want to keep the treehouse to themselves.

a special friend

Puffin Books, London, 2003, illus Biz Hull, 118 pp.

Lauren finds a scruffy, miserable, grey pony in the local dealer’s stables. She’s sure the pony is another magical one, and she’s also sure that Michael, whom she finds talking to the pony, is the person the pony needs. Can Lauren and Twilight unite them?

a winter wish

Puffin Books, London, 2004, illus Biz Hull

snowy dreams

Puffin Books, London, 2005, illus Biz Hull, 148 pp.

Twilight has a secret he has to keep even from Lauren: the Elders on Arcadia want him to return there to look after the young magical ponies. Twilight is heart broken at the idea of parting from Lauren.

twilight magic

Puffin Books, London, 2006, illus Biz Hull, 151 pp.

A beautiful foal has just been born at the stables: but his mother Apple is very protective of him. Lauren doesn’t like Jade – she’s snooty and rude – but when she’s in danger after sneaking into Apple’s stable, Lauren feels she has to help.

friends forever

Puffin Books, London, 2006, illus Biz Hull, 118 pp.

Lauren and her friend Mel are off to Pony Camp, but when they get there Lauren soon finds she’s lonely. Mel makes friends with another group, and Lauren feels left out. Then Lauren finds out Mel’s team is planning to cheat at one of their team games, and she tries to persuade Mel her new friends are not as nice as she thinks.

rising star

Puffin Books, London, 2006, illus Ann Kronheimer, 151 pp.

Apple’s foal, Currant is a unicorn, and his special friend is Lauren’s friend Grace. Currant still has a lot to learn though, particularly about flying.

starry skies

Puffin Books, London, 2007, illus Biz Hull, 160 pp.  

Lauren has become the new Keeper of Magic after the death of Mrs Fontana.

a touch of magic

Puffin Books, London, 2005, illus Biz Hull, 148 pp.

Lauren knows you shouldn’t neglect your pets, but her little brother Max doesn’t agree. He ignores his new puppy, preferring to play with his skateboard. Then the puppy goes missing, and Max is distraught.

moonlight journey

Puffin Books, London, 2007, illus Biz Hull

Lauren and Twilight make a journey to Arcadia to save a pony friend from a mystery virus.

keeper of magic

Puffin Books, London, 2007, illus Biz Hull, 151 pp.

Lauren’s cousin Hannah is coming to stay: Lauren’s really looking forward to it, but when Hannah arrives, Lauren discovers that she’s gone off ponies.


Puffin Books, London, 2007, illus Ann Kronheimer, 118 pp.

Willow unicorn is feeling nervous on her first day, but she soon settles in. Then she discovers an older unicorn is planning to play a trick on her friend Storm.

the surprise party

Puffin Books, London, 2007, illus Ann Kronheimer, 116 pp.

Unicorn Troy has been behaving very strangely. He tells the others he’s a unicorn prince, but he’s worried that they will only like him because of who he is. Willow tries to reassure him he’s still the same old Troy.

the treasure hunt

Puffin Books, London, 2008, illus Ann Kronheimer, 117 pp.

Willow and her friends go on a treasure hunt: Troy gets bossy; Willow gets cross, but in the end they all pull together.

the school play

Puffin Books, London, 2008, illus Ann Kronheimer, 131 pp.

Everyone is very excited at the news there is to be a school play. Willow wants the leading role, but then finds her shy friend Sapphire wants it to. Can Willow stand aside for her friend?

the pet show

Puffin Books, London, 2008, iillus Ann Kronheimer, 130 pp.

The head teacher announces there will be a pet show at Unicorn School.

team magic

Puffin Books, London, 2009, illus Ann Kronheimer, 116 pp.

It’s the end of term, and everyone has exams. They’re all working very hard, except for Troy, who has other plans.

cloud magic

Puffin Books, London, 2009, illus Ann Kronheimer, 184 pp.

Erin has always believed in magic, but didn’t know she had any powers of her own, until one day she looks up at the sky and sees a herd of magical horses. One of the horses, Tor, is trapped on earth, and Erin has to use her new powers, and the help of her new friends, to help him.

the royal foal

Puffin Books, London, 2009, illus Biz Hull, 184 pp.

Mistral the young sky foal has been captured by an evil spirit: Erin wants to help, but a secret fear is holding her back.

the whispering tree

Puffin Books, London, 2009, illus Biz Hull, 180 pp.

Tor and his foal Mistral can’t return to their kingdom unless Erin can find the Secret Gateway.

the eye of the storm

Puffin Books, London, 2009, illus Ann Kronheimer, 183 pp.

Erin’s powers have grown strong, and now she has to face a new challenge: freeing the sky kingdom from the evil spirits.

loving spirit

Puffin Books, London, 2010,180 pp.

Read my review of the book

Ellie has lost everything she ever knew: her parents are dead, and she has moved from her home in New Zealand to live at her Uncle Len’s showing yard. Her uncle is brisk and unsympathetic, but Ellie does manage to form a friendship at last with her cousin. What really helps Ellie is finding the horse Spirit, with whom she forms a special bond.


Puffin Books, London, 2011, 191 pp.

Read my review of the book

Life is looking up for Ellie in some ways, though she’s confused about her feelings for the boys on the yard: Joe and Luke. She and her horse Spirit can talk to one another, and Ellie discovers she can talk to the other horses on the yard, all except for one.


Puffin Books, London, 2011, 156 pp.

Ellie is working really hard at the showing yard, but it looks as if the worst will happen, and both her cousin Joe, and her horse Spirit, will be taken away from her.


Puffin Books, London, 2012

Ellie is still frantically busy at the yard. Even though she’s no longer with Spirit, they still have a special bond. Ellie’s confused by her feelings for groom, Luke, and when she finds a new horse who really needs her, she realises something will have to give.