American Girl Publishing
Audio Version by Recorded Books

Agatha Christie Award Nominee
Best Children’s/Young Adult Mystery
— Malice Domestic

Flora MacDonald Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scottish Affairs
— St. Andrews Presbyterian College 

Children’s Literature Award Winner
— Council for Wisconsin Writers


The Gunn's party was already in fine swing when Alasdair MacKay brought out his great bagpipes. Elspeth shot a sidelong look at Mercy Blair, her best friend. Mercy seemed to be enjoying the gathering. But unlike Elspeth and the other guests, Mercy was not Scottish. She had been born here in North Carolina Colony...  


Thus begins the multiple award-winning book Betrayal At Cross Creek. This is Kathleen's first American Girl story set during the American Revolution (the second is Gunpowder and Tea Cakes: My Journey With Felicity). It is also her third mystery for American Girl.

Betrayal is written for readers age 10 and up who are interested in historical fiction—without sex, gore, or explicit violence. The audiobook version is rated for listeners age 5 and up.

Story Description

It's 1775. Elspeth Monro, newly come from Scotland, is just beginning to feel at home in North Carolina, with a new friend and a weaving apprenticeship she loves. To Elspeth, the brewing Revolution feels very far away, until someone starts to threaten her own family, trying to force them to join the rebels.

When her grandfather marches off to fight with the British, Elspeth is left alone to protect her grandmother, and to figure out who is putting her family in danger!

This book includes a richly illustrated "Peak Into The Past" essay, glosseries of Scots-English and Gaelic words, and an author's note.

Originally released as a 178-page book in softcover and hardcover, and is now available as a beautifully spoken 4-hour 13-minute audiobook.

What Others Are Saying

Image of the Kirkus Reviews logo.  Kirkus Reviews
Book Review

"Complex emotions are as balanced as the light and dark threads in the overshot patterns Elspeth loves to weave, and Elspeth, trying desperately to find her own balance, is appealing and brave."
Image of the School Library Journal logo. School Library Journal
Audiobook Review

"Listeners will encounter strong characters, palpable tension, and a surprising twist at the end of the story. Davina Porter...reads with great emotion and earnestness and a lovely Scottish accent."
 Image of the Historical Novel Review logo. The Historical Novel Review
Book Review

"A complex book which does not sugarcoat the trials women and children must face when their homes are engulfed by war. It is well written and the mystery is brought to a convincing, sad conclusion."

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction for adults and young readers.

Her work has earned numerous honors, including two lifetime writing achievement awards, an Emmy for educational television, and an Edgar Allan Poe and multiple Agatha Christie mystery award nominations.

To date nearly 1.8 million audio, ebook, and print copies of Kathleen's thirty-eight published books have been purchased. more>>

Related Blog Posts

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

The Stories Behind The Story

Photo of interpreter at a Scottish outdoor museum.  When I was a kid, I read lots of novels set during the American Revolution.  Every one I recall portrayed Patriots as “good” and everyone else as “bad.”  As an American, I’m enormously proud of what our foremothers and forefathers did to establish our country... more>>

Missing Home

Photo of a museum exhibit recreating the pine forests of North Carolina circa 1880. Last week I posted about a farewell to Norway found written on a barn beam. The man loved his homeplace, and clearly mourned leaving it. That reminded me of something penned by another immigrant. While researching Scottish... more>>

Fairfield House, Ontario

Link to Fairfield House, Ontario blog post Growing up in Maryland, I never gave much thought to people who were Loyalists during the American Revolution.  When I was in elementary school, I learned that Patriots were good/right, and Loyalists were bad/wrong... more>>



Available From

Betrayal at Cross Creek is available as an audiobook from the booksellers below. Hear a 1-minute sample from the story.

You can also buy 'as new' original American Girl softcover and hardcover copies of this book directly from me, signed and personalized as per your request. To receive a quote, click HERE.

Audible company logo. AUDIOBOOK
Apple iTunes Store logo. AUDIOBOOK logo. AUDIOBOOK

Author's Note

I grew up on the east coast and studied colonial history in college, and always wanted to write a novel set during the American Revolution. I have Scottish roots on my mom's side, and I also wanted to write about immigrants from Scotland. Betrayal at Cross Creek let me do both.

The challenges that Scottish colonists in North Carolina faced moved me deeply.

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst receiving the Flora McDonald Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scottish Affairs from St. Andrews Presbyterian College for her American Girl History Mystery children's historical fiction book Betrayal at Cross Creek

This story is one of my all-time favorites, and the response to it by readers and reviewers has been especially gratifying.

While the book is out of print, a wonderful audio version is available. It will transport you back in time to the immigrants' smoky cabins and Céilidhs.   

Book Goodies

Image of partial book cover of "Betrayal at Cross Creek" written by Kathleen Ernst, published by American Girl PREVIEW
Get a sneak peak
inside this book 
Image of a book and apple. TEACHER'S GUIDE
For teachers and

Click to Enlarge

The armed clash in Betrayal took place in what is now the Moore's Creek National Battlefield Park—site of the last recorded Scottish Highland broadsword charge.

Moore's Creek National Battlefield Park - North Carolina

Click on the image above to view a larger copy of the Moore's Creek battlefield map.

How It Looks Today

This is what Moore's Creek looks like now.

Moore's Creek in the Moore's Creek National Battlefield Park in North Carolina. Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst.