What do Louisa May Alcott, the Brontë sisters, and Emily Dickinson have in common with Nancy Drew? They’re now spunky, young detectives thanks to author of historical fiction, Michaela MacColl. Intertwining fact with fiction, she’s reimagined each of these literary greats as teen crime solvers for a fun and meticulously researched mystery series aimed at tweens and teens.
Michaela, who has degrees in multi-disciplinary history from Vassar and Yale, spent 20 years living a most interesting life before the thought of writing historical fiction was even on her radar.
Post grad school, she and her husband moved to France. They spent three years in Toulouse, then two years outside of Paris, eventually returning home to the U.S.
While she raised her two daughters in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Michaela worked as a technical writer and project manager for internet design firms. In addition, she says, “I led a Girl Scout troop, ran the elementary school book fairs for eight years running and built Habitat Houses.” That’s when she began to write.
“I was always fascinated by stories of how famous people grew up to be that way.”
Michaela’s first novel Prisoners in the Palace (2010) explores the year before Princess Victoria becomes Queen. Teenaged Victoria led a restricted and sheltered life. The adults around her were plotting to take advantage of the young queen’s inexperience and youth. This story asks the question, what if Victoria were not completely alone? What if she had a friend? What if Victoria was not as powerless as she seemed?
Then came Promise The Night (2011), Michaela’s “thrill of a ride,” action-adventure novel inspired by the famous yet elusive, real-life adventuress and pilot, Beryl Markham, the first person to fly solo from England to North America.
Her author mystery series for tweens and teens followed with Nobody’s Secret in 2013, Always Emily in 2014, and this year, The Revelation of Louisa May. As fans of historical fiction, not to mention a really good mystery, even we, a team of adults, cannot wait to dive into the crime solving adventures Michaela’s written for her teen Brontës, as well as her young Emily and Louisa. In addition to being fun reads, it’s a brilliant way to introduce young readers to literary greats.
Truth be told, we’re also excited to see who she might feature next in the series… Jane Austen? Mary Shelley? Or maybe even J.K. Rowling? Oh the stories the adolescent versions of these women could tell.
Louisa May Alcott can’t believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad, and blossoming love.
Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious. Emily is curious and headstrong. But they have one thing in common: a love of writing. And when two strangers appear on the desolate English Moors that surround their home, they must combine the imagination and wit usually reserved for their pens to unravel a string of mysteries.
One day, fifteen-year-old Emily Dickinson meets a mysterious, handsome young man. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to know who she or her family is. And even more surprisingly, he playfully refuses to divulge his name. Emily enjoys her secret flirtation with Mr. “Nobody” until he turns up dead in her family’s pond. Her investigation takes her deep into town secrets, blossoming romance, and deadly danger.