To commemorate the end of National Poetry Month, Teen Tuesday is giving away one advance reader’s copy of Nobody’s Secret. You can get it before the library copies arrive! Claim it for yourself by asking at the desk of the Whitney Library Children’s Department.
When the name Emily Dickinson is bandied about, what usually comes to mind? American poet . . . recluse . . . spinster . . . . What about plucky fifteen-year-old super sleuth? Or daring, intellectual thinker seeking justice in a small town full of secrets? Author Michaela MacColl presents a young Emily Dickinson who is all this and more in Nobody’s Secret, a historically rich, fictional mystery set in the poet’s hometown.
An unexpected meeting with a handsome stranger who knows nothing of her family’s local prominence sparks a romantic interest in Emily that is cut tragically short when the mysterious young man is found dead in her family’s pond. Though the town’s officials seem content to bury the man anonymously, Emily’s sorrow and curiosity lead her to investigate the death. Hampered by the social norms of her time, Emily determinedly uncovers a few closely guarded secrets and risks her own life to discover the identity of “Mr. Nobody.”
Nobody’s Secret is an entertaining introduction to Emily Dickinson’s life, despite its fictional plot. Every chapter heading is a line from a Dickinson poem that foreshadows the events to follow. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the detailed 1845 Amherst, Massachusetts setting as well as the author’s notes. Mystery fans will liken young Emily to a nineteenth-century Nancy Drew.
Portraying smart, willful young women in historical fiction is Michaela MacColl’s specialty and not only does she write historic fiction, she reviews it as well. Check out her reviews for the Historical Novel Society here.
Putting famous literary figures into fictional plots is a popular concept and one Ms. MacColl will explore again in her next mystery starring Charlotte and Emily Bronte, due out next year. In the meantime, for something similar pick up Lewis Buzbee’s The Haunting of Charles Dickens or Terry Prachett’s Dodger where, in both books, Mr. Dickens proves to be a resourceful and observant ally.
Are there other titles that you can recommend which feature a famous literary figure as a character?