SECRETS IN THE HILLS
A JOSEFINA MYSTERY
American Girl Publishing
"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
Summer Reading Program Prize Selection
— Barnes & Noble
Thisis Kathleen's fifth mystery for American Girl, and the twelfth of her twenty-five published books. It is written for readers ages 9 and up who enjoy historical fiction without any sex, gore, or explicit violence.
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.
It was originally released as a 192-page book in softcover and hardcover formats and is now also available in electronic versions for the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle.
What Others Are Saying
"Ernst adds to her growing list of books in the American Girl Mystery series with this entry, set in New Mexico in the 1820s.
Josefina, a Spanish rancher's daughter, is learning how to be a curandera, or healer, from her aunt. While her aunt is away, anxious Josefina is the town's sole healer, and she worries when her herbs and prescriptions fail to improve her patients. Then she heals a gravely ill traveler, who invites her to join his search for treasure rumored to be hidden near Josefina's home.
The story hangs on several contrivances, and a second mystery about a restless ghost isn't always well integrated. Still, 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.
An appended section adds historical and cultural context, and the flap copy includes a treasure map key that is alluded to in the text."
— Booklist (American Library Association)
"In Secrets, Josefina lives on her family's New Mexico homestead in the 1820s. She is fascinated when a mysterious man with an injured leg is brought to her house and she and her family must care for him. While laundering his clothes, Josefina accidentally discovers a treasure map in a pocket. Could it lead to buried treasure somewhere in the hills around her house?
[The] story begins slowly, but methodically weaves in clues as it builds on the mystery. Background information is carefully integrated in Josephina's story, which is rich with tales of buried treasure and local traditions, foods, and crafts."
— School Library Journal
"Secrets in the Hills is an American Girl mystery featuring Josefina.
Set in the rugged, rural hills of New Mexico, Josefina and her family befriend a traveling ranch hand that has been badly injured. Josefina's aunt, Tia Magdalena, had been teaching Josefina the methods of a curandera. A curandera knows how to make medicines from plants and helps to heal people. Josefina uses her newly learned skills to help the rancher recover. While caring for him she inadvertently discovers a map. The rancher confides that he is hoping the map leads to his ancestor's long lost, hidden treasure. Helping the ranch hand to interpret the clues is just one of the mysteries that Josefina hopes to solve. There is also the strange moaning sound she has been hearing in the early evening hours. Could the sounds belong to the lonely ghost of La Llorona?
Josefina uses compassion and common sense to help those around her find answers, and in the process she learns about herself. Her character is compelling and her story is earnest, interesting, and extremely enjoyable."
— Children's Literature
"There's plenty of local color in this exciting addition to the popular series."
— Mystery Scene Magazine
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 well over 750,000 audio, electronie, and printed copies of Kathleen's twenty-five books. more>>
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.
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