SECRETS IN THE HILLS
A JOSEFINA MYSTERY

American Girl Publishing

secrets in the hills: a josefina mystery, american girl mysteries
"Rich with tales of buried treasure and local traditions, foods and crafts."
    — School Library Journal

"[Josefina's] story is earnest, interesting, and extremely enjoyable."
    — Children's Literature

"This award-winning author adds to her growing list of fabulous books."
    — Mystery Readers Journal

 

This is Kathleen's fifth mystery for American Girl, and her twelfth published books. It is written for readers ages 9 and up who enjoy stories about Josefina Montoya and growing up in Nuevo Mexico.

Story Description


Josefina has heard tales and legends all her life: rumors of gold and silver buried in the hills, and even tales of a ghostly Weeping Woman who haunts the countryside. But she never imagined that such stories might be true--until one day a mysterious stranger arrives at her rancho. This suspenseful tale is set in New Mexico in 1826.

The book includes an illustrated "Looking Back" essay and a glossary of Spanish words used in the story.

This story was originally released as a 192-page book in softcover and hardcover formats, and is now available in electronic versions for the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle.

What Others Are Saying


Image of the American Library Association logo.  Booklist Magazine
American Library Association
Book Review

"...readers will be easily drawn in by the search for gold and the chilly hints of the supernatural, and they'll see themselves in Josefina's realistic sibling squabbles and her yearning to develop her talents and help her community."
   
Image of Barnes & Noble logo.  Prize Selection
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

Secrets In The Hills: A Josefina Mystery was chosen by Barnes & Noble as a prize for readers who completed their summer reading program.

About the Author


Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries and historical fiction for adults and young readers. Her work has earned numerous honors, including multiple Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for children's educational programming.

To date, readers have purchased over one million printed, electronic, and audio copies of Kathleen's twenty-nine published books. more>>

Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.

The Stories Behind The Story

Photo by author Kathleen Ernst of New Mexico landscape.  When my editor at American Girl asked if I’d like to write a mystery about Josefina, I was delighted! This project combined several of the things that I love to learn about: history, people with different cultural backgrounds, and an intriguing and beautiful landscape... more>>

Author's Note

For me, there are few things more fun than plunging into research for a book set in a new time and place. So I was delighted when American Girl invited me to write a mystery about Josefina. I traveled to New Mexico and tried to immerse myself into her world by visiting historic sites, museums, and desert trails. Many of the vivid details that caught my imagination made their way into Secrets in the Hills. I hope that reading the story transports you back to Josefina's world. 

Book Goodies

Partial image of the book cover of "Secrets In The Hills: A Josefina Mystery" written by Kathleen Ernst, published by American Girl. PREVIEW
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Hanging Display of Colorful Native-Dyed Yarns

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Josefina Montoya's World - Nuevo Mexico - 1826