American Girl Publishing

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott,


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Caroline Abbott looked over her shoulder as the wagon lurched away from Sackets Harbor. Away from home.

Thus begins the third and final mystery in the bestselling, award-winning Caroline Abbott American Girl series. It is Kathleen's ninth Caroline, nineteenth American Girl, and thirty-first published book.

This book is written for readers age 8 and up who enjoy traditional mysteries and historical fiction without sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

The War of 1812 is still raging when Caroline goes to visit her cousin Lydia and Uncle Aaron's farm deep in the woods.

While there, she finds evidence that someone is smuggling precious supplies to the British. She can't believe anyone would help the enemy during wartime!

Even worse: could the traitor be her own uncle?

This book includes an "Inside Caroline's World" essay about smuggling during the War of 1812. It is available as a 215-page softcover book, and in multiple digital versions for popular e-book apps and readers.


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.

Caroline's Quilt - Part 2

"It took a long time to piece or appliqué a quilt in Caroline’s day. In Traitor in the Shipyard, friends help Caroline and Rhonda complete a beautiful quilt top. In the new Caroline mystery, The Smuggler’s Secrets..." more>>

Caroline's Pocket

Partial image of Temptation: Fruit Stall oil painting (1850) by George Smith, Victoria and Albert Museum collection.  
"Did you know that pockets weren’t always sewn into clothes? Girls in Caroline’s day most likely used tie-on pockets. In The Smuggler’s Secrets, my new mystery, Caroline has a problem when..." more>>

Farewell Caroline

Photo of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, creator of the American Girl historical character Caroline Abbott, at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield Historic Site in Caroline's hometown of Sackets Harbor, New York, in 2014. "American Girl has announced that Caroline Abbott, the 1812 character I created, will be archived. While I am, of course, disappointed with the decision to retire Caroline, I am grateful... more>>





Author's Note

Smuggling was a huge problem in New York during the War of 1812, especially along the border between the United States and British territory (now Canada). In Sackets Harbor, children like Caroline would have heard many tales about people who betrayed their own country by selling goods to the enemy.

When American Girl invited me to write another Caroline mystery, I knew I wanted to focus on smuggling. Caroline has no sympathy for anyone who tries to make a profit by sneaking food or weapons to British soldiers!

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst and a young American Girl reader holding her Caroline doll, taken at Sackets Harbor, New York.

I also chose to feature some of the fun activities girls enjoyed two hundred years ago, such as attending a quilting bee. Perhaps you'll be inspired to try sewing a simple quilt too!



The hand-made, checkered patterned cloth 'pocket' shown below is a very important object in The Smuggler's Secrets. (Source: Susan Greene Costume Collection, Genesee Country Village Museum.)

The painting above shows an important social activity that takes place in the book—a 'quilting bee'—where women and girls gather to stitch together the layers of a warm quilt. (Source: "A Quilting Party" painted by Enoch Wood Perry.) 

Where To Buy

American Girl has "archived" the Caroline doll and accessories, which means they are no longer selling them. However, this Caroline book is still available from the vendors listed below—while supplies last.

NOTE: You can acquire 'as new' softcover copies of The Smuggler's Secrets and my other Caroline books from me, signed and personalized as you wish. A great gift! Request a quote by clicking HERE.

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