Swimming with Horses


An unlikely friendship between a Canadian teenager and a South African girl sparks a journey to untangle an unsolved murder.

Eighteen-year-old Hilary Anson’s startling good looks and wanton ways scandalize the denizens of sleepy Kelso County, but young Sam Mitchell is instantly enthralled by his new friend. Over one sun-soaked summer, Hilary vastly improves Sam’s equestrian skills, while dropping inscrutable details about her past in apartheid-era South Africa. Mysteries mount until Hilary vanishes, leaving at least one unsolved murder in her wake. Many years and two failed marriages later, Sam sets out for South Africa, determined to crack the enigma of Hilary Anson. In doing so, he finds himself confronting a shocking secret of his own.


Dewey Divas and the Dudes Winter 2019 Pick


The book is essentially a murder mystery, but it is also an exquisite literary achievement.

Foreword Reviews

Set against a bridle-creakingly realistic background of horsemanship, and fueled by the dual mystery of the circumstances surrounding Hilary’s departure from South Africa, and then Canada, this is an intriguing coming-of-age novel.


Author Oakland Ross provides an intriguing conclusion … leaving both character and reader satisfied.

Quill & Quire

Is it possible for a novel to be both a Bildungsroman about a sensitive Canadian teenager who loves horses and a noirish thriller about apartheid-era South Africa? Somehow, yes.

Globe and Mail

About the Author

Oakland Ross

Posted by Kendra on March 27, 2018
Oakland Ross photo

Oakland Ross

Oakland Ross has written two previous novels, a travel memoir, and a short story collection. He worked as a foreign correspondent for several years and received two National Newspaper Awards and a National Magazine Award for fiction. Oakland lives in Toronto.