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I've worn many bonnets over the years: writer, reader, park ranger, historical interpreter, historic site curator, video producer, educator. I never had a job I didn't love!​

As a child, I dreamed of being a full-time writer. Now I have the fun of writing books about ideas that fascinate me, experiences that fascinated me, and historical tidbits that capture my imagination.

Although I've had the privilege of writing many books for young readers, including twenty titles for American Girl, I've poured most of my energy in recent years into teen/adult titles.

Current projects include the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series and the Hanneke Bauer Mystery series. Both were inspired by the years I worked at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum near the village of Eagle. I also write poetry and nonfiction.


Happy reading!

Kathleen Signature
Kathleen Ernst

Kathleen Ernst's Latest Releases

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The Solace of Stars Book cover

The Solace Of Stars - A Hanneke Bauer Mystery

"I do hope there won’t be trouble at the market today,” Hanneke murmured to Jacobine Ketzler. They were perched on the back of the Ketzler family’s small buckboard wagon, legs dangling as Jacobine’s mother slowly drove through Watertown’s crowded streets.

Jacobine sighed. “Frau Bauer, it seems there always is.”


Four months after her turbulent arrival, Pomeranian immigrant Hanneke Bauer is still struggling to feel at home on the Wisconsin farm she inherited from her husband. She does savor a growing friendship with tinsmith Karoline Ketzler, but that solace vanishes when Karoline’s daughter Jacobine finds her father dead from a vicious attack.

Image by Kiwihug
The Weaver's Revenge book cover

The Weavers Revenge - A Chloe Ellefson Mystery

This is a mistake, Chloe thought as she parked her car in the secret spot along the wooded entrance drive to Old World Wisconsin.

When offered a rare opportunity to help develop a fledgling historic site dedicated to Finnish American history and heritage, [museum] curator Chloe Ellefson journeys to the remote Northwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In addition to the consultant job, she’s on a personal quest to learn about the enduring tradition of rag rug weaving.

Image by Kiwihug
Balancing Book cover


The poems in Balancing were inspired by the experience of women who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, sought new homes in the Upper Midwest. The first waves of pioneers, predominantly Yankees from Northeastern states, were soon followed by European immigrants. Few women recorded their struggles and satisfactions, but by juxtaposing research and imagination, Ernst breathes new life into their forgotten stories.

Image by Kiwihug
Kathleen Ernst

Although I've had the privilege of writing many books for young readers, I've poured most of my energy in recent years into teen/adult titles.

Click below to see more books I have written.

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