Kathleen Ernst

Kathleen is an author, educator and historian specializing in historical fiction. She has an MA in History Education and Writing from Antioch University, Ohio, USA, and served as a Curator of Education with the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for over a decade. She served as project director/scriptwriter for several instructional television series, one of which earned her an Emmy Award.

More information about Kathleen Ernst can be found on her website: kathleenernst.com

Author photo by Geri Gerold

Series Fiction

American Girl Caroline Abbott 1812 Caroline Abbott is the 2012 historical character for American Girl whose stories are based around the War of 1812.As the War of 1812 begins, so does the story of Caroline’s bravery.More about the series can be found at
the American Girl website
the website of the author, Kathleen Ernst
Catch the Wind: My Journey with Caroline (American Girl, August 2014)
Traitor in the Shipyard Traitor in the Shipyard (American Girl, 2013) When Caroline learns that British spies may be lurking in Sackets Harbor, she is worried. Then, a long lost friend of Papa’s shows up in town. Papa is delighted to give him a job at Abbott’s Shipyard, but soon, strange things start going wrong.
Meet Caroline Caroline Abbott’s world is turned upside down. The first volume of a series set during the War of 1812 introduces American Girl’s historical character for 2012.
(American Girl, 2012)
The illustrated “Looking Back” section explores the beginning of the War of 1812.Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award,
Council for Wisconsin Writers, 2012
Platinum Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
Gold Award, Mom’s Choice Awards
Top 25 Children’s Fiction Bestseller, Publisher’s Weekly
Caroline’s Secret Message Caroline hopes desperately that Papa will understand her message and be able to escape from the fort.
(American Girl, 2012)The illustrated “Looking Back” section explores how the War of 1812 affected women and children.
A Surprise for Caroline Caroline tries to cheer Rhonda and her cousin Lydia when they must come to stay with her.
(American Girl, 2012)The illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses Christmastime and growing up in the early 1800s.
Caroline Takes a Chance Out fishing one Spring day, Caroline sees a British warship about to capture an American boat.
(American Girl, 2012)The illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses transportation and medicine in the early 1800s.
Caroline’s Battle Caroline’s father has just returned when they receive frightening news—British warships are sailing to attack Sackets Harbor.
(American Girl, 2012)The illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.
Changes for Caroline Caroline suspects a thief has been stealing much-needed food from Lydia’s farm, and must help watch to guard it.
(American Girl, 2012)The illustrated “Looking Back” section explores how America began to change at the end of the War of 1812.
Chloe Ellefson Mysteries
adult mystery series
“In curator Chloe Ellefson, Ernst has created a captivating character with humor, grit, and a tangled history of her own that needs unraveling. Enchanting!” —Sandi Ault, author of the WILD
EKDeathonthePrairieCov Death on the Prairie (Midnight Ink, Fall 2015)


  Tradition of Deceit (Midnight Ink, Fall 2014)
Heritage of Darkness

(Midnight Ink, October 2013)

The Lightkeeper’s Legacy
At Rock Island State Park Chloe aids in plans to restore the historic lighthouse. When she finds body on the beach, the death ruled the result of an accident, Chloe’s suspicions lead her to race to discover the truth before another murder can take place.
(Midnight Ink, October 2012)
2013 Lovey Award, Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth Mystery
The Heirloom Murders
Chloe unravels the links between the disappearance of a legendary diamond and the death of a neighbor.
(Midnight Ink, 2011)
Anne Powers Fiction Book Award 2011, Council for Wisconsin Writers
“Interesting, well-drawn characters and a complicated plot make this a very satisfying read.”
— The Mystery Reader Review”Greed, passion, skill, and luck all figure in this surprise-filled outing.”
— Publishers Weekly
Old World Murder Volume 1 Chloe Ellefson’s new job as Collections Curator at Old World Wisconsin brings her face to face with a murder, a stolen artifact, an arrogant boss, and an intriguing new relationship.
(Midnight Ink, 2010)adult novel”Propulsive and superbly written, this first entry in a dynamite new series from accomplished author Kathleen Ernst seamlessly melds the 1980’s and the 19th century. Character-driven, with mystery aplenty, Old World Murder is a sensational read. Think Sue Grafton meets Earlene Fowler, with a dash of Elizabeth Peters.”
—Julia Spencer-Fleming, Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of I Shall Not Want and One Was A Soldier
“Old World Murder is…a delightful distraction for an evening or two.”
—New York Journal of Books
“clever plot twists and credible characters make this a far from humdrum cozy.” —Publishers Weekly

American Girl
The Runaway Friend At harvest time, Kirsten’s friend Eric is missing and she’s sure he’s in trouble.
(American Girl Brands, 2008)American Girl – Kirsten Mysteries
Midnight in Lonesome Hollow
American Girl – Kit Mysteries(American Girl Brands, 2007)
Secrets in the HillsAmerican Girl – Josefina Mysteries(Pleasant Company, 2006)
Danger at the ZooAmerican Girl – Kit Mysteries(Pleasant Company, 2005)


Hearts of Stone (Dutton, 2006) Council of Wisconsin Writers Children’s Literature Award, 2007
Editors Choice Title, Historical Novels Review, February 2007,
Historical Novel Society “Like an old-time ballad, Hearts of Stone transports readers into a lyrical, essential world brimming with life and spirit. It succeeds in that rarest of objectives – to both wrench and warm the heart. Highly recommended. Age 12 and up.”
– Eileen Charbonneau, Historical Novels Review
Highland Fling (Cricket Books, 2006)
Betrayal at Cross Creek (Pleasant Company, 2004)
The Ghosts of Vicksburg (White Mane Publishing, 2003)
Whistler in the Dark (Pleasant Company, 2002) Agatha Award nominee, Best Children’s/Young Adult Mystery
Malice Domestic, 2003
Trouble at Fort La Pointe (White Mane Publishing, 2000) Edgar Award nominee, Best Children’s Mystery,
Mystery Writers of America, 2001
Retreat from Gettysburg (White Mane Publishing, 2000) Arthur Tofte Juvenile Fiction Book Award,
Council of Wisconsin Writers, 2001
The Bravest Girl in Sharpsburg (White Mane Publishing, 1997)
The Night Riders of Harpers Ferry (White Mane Publishing, 1996) Books for the Teen Age list, New York Public Library, 1998


Too Afraid to Cry Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign(Stackpole Books, 1999) Alternate Selection, History Book Club, 1999

Agent: Fiona Kenshole