Emma Carroll: The Queen of Historical Children's Fiction


If you haven't come across any of best-selling author Emma Carroll's middle grade books yet I highly recommend to give her a search right now because you won't be disappointed. Carroll, in my opinion, is the queen of historical fiction. With Sky Chasers set in 18th century, Pre-Revolutionary France during the reign of King Louis and Marie Antoinette, to a thrilling historical murder mystery set in the winter of 1881 in Frost Hollow Hall, to an enthralling adventure of mystery and courage set in the Second World War in Letters from the Lighthouse, it goes beyond saying that Carroll deserves this title.


Middle grade historical fiction is continually taking up a bigger sector of the children's fiction market each year. In the last few years there was Lauren Wolk's hauntingly beautiful historical novel set during the 1920s Beyond the Bright Sea; Hilary McKays World War One tale The Skylark's War; and Lucy Worsley's dramatic and touching alternative stories of women across history including Queen Victoria in My Name is Victoria and Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragon in Lady Mary. And not to mention popular historically set series like Julia Golding's 'Cat Royal' series set across 1790s London, and Katherine Woodfine's Edwardian London 'The Sinclair's Mysteries' series. Emma Carroll has been steadily carving a niche as a writer of evocative and spine-tingling middle grade children’s fiction, justifiably earning her writing comparisons not only with classic children’s writers including Joan Aiken but also Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman.

Emma Carroll is roughly churning out on average one new book a year, and Faber & Faber have already announced the exciting news that Emma will return to World War II with a thrilling new short story collection: When we were Warriors, to be published February 2019.


Here's a list of Emma Carroll's books so far! You can see my personal reviews on Carroll's books on my home page, including my recent review of the fantastic Sky Chasers.


2018


Secrets of a Sun King

London, 1922.

A discovery from ancient Egypt... A cursed package... The untold story of a young pharaoh...

When Lilian Kaye finds a parcel on her grandad's doorstep, she is shocked to see who sent it: a famous Egyptologist, found dead that very morning, according to every newspaper in England!

The mysterious package holds the key to a story... about a king whose tomb archaeologists are desperately hunting for.

Now Lil and her friends must embark on an incredible journey - to return the package to its resting place, to protect those they love, and to break the deadly pharaoh's curse.

The author of the Waterstones bestseller, Letters from the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll returns with a classic exploration story that takes readers to the heart of the Golden Age of Egyptian archaeology. Full of twists, turns, sinister discoveries, hidden tombs, firm friends and deadly curses, brought together by Carroll’s firm sense of real history, Secrets of a Sun King is the ideal summer adventure.


Sky Chasers

A encounter with a boy dangling from the sky changes pickpocket Magpie's life forever.

Like her, the boy dreams of flying over the rooftops of Paris. His family, the Montgolfiers, are desperate to be first to discover the secret of flight. Together with Pierre, Magpie is soon caught up in a world of inflatable bloomers, spies and a trio of unruly animals in a race to be the first to fly a hot air balloon - in front of the King and Queen of France.










2017


Letters from the Lighthouse

February, 1941.

After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he's not used to company and he certainly doesn't want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she's desperate to discover what happened to her.

Then she finds a strange coded note – a note that changes everything and which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.



2016


Strange Star

They were coming tonight to tell ghost stories. 'A tale to freeze the blood,' was the only rule. Switzerland, 1816. On a stormy summer night, Lord Byron and his guests are gathered round the fire. Felix, their serving boy, can't wait to hear their creepy tales. Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn- more chilling than any tale. Frantic pounding at the front door reveals a stranger, a girl covered in the most unusual scars. She claims to be looking for her sister, supposedly snatched from England by a woman called Mary Shelley. Someone else has followed her here too, she says. And the girl is terrified. This breathtaking new book from Emma Carroll, the critically-acclaimed author of Frost Hollow Hall, The Girl Who Walked On Air, In Darkling Wood and The Snow Sister, is a deliciously creepy story inspired by the creation of Frankenstein, and is brought to life by a leading talent in children's literature.


2015


In Darkling Wood

'You're telling me there are fairies in this wood?' When Alice's brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother's house. There's nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden - but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn't seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?





2014


The Girl Who Walked on Air

Louie, who was abandoned at Chipchase's Travelling Circus as a baby, dreams of becoming a 'Showstopper', but Mr Chipchase keeps her hidden, tucked away in the ticket booth. No Death-Defying Stunts for her. But Louie has been secretly practising her act - tightrope-walking - and dreams of being the Girl Who Walked on Air . . . she just needs to be given the chance to shine. And the circus needs her too - Wellbeloved's rival show is stealing their crowds. They need a Showstopper. Desperate, Mr Chipchase reluctantly lets Louie perform. She is a sensation, and gets an offer from the sinister Mr Wellbeloved himself to perform ... over Niagara Falls. But nothing is quite as it seems and soon Louie's bravery is tested not just on the highwire but in confronting her past and the shady characters in the world of the circus ... Fans of Frost Hollow Hall will love this epic adventure about following your dreams and becoming a showstopper!


2013


Frost Hollow Hall

The gates to Frost Hollow Hall loomed before us. They were great tall things, the ironwork all twisted leaves and queer-looking flowers. And they were very definitely shut. Tilly's heart sinks. Will's at the door of their cottage, daring her to come ice-skating up at Frost Hollow Hall. No one goes near the place these days. Rumour has it that the house is haunted . . . Ten years ago the young heir, Kit Barrington, drowned there in the lake. But Tilly never turns down a dare. Then it goes horribly wrong. The ice breaks, Tilly falls through and almost drowns. At the point of death, a beautiful angel appears in the water and saves her. Kit Barrington's ghost. Kit needs Tilly to solve the mystery of his death, so that his spirit can rest in peace. In order to discover all she can, Tilly gets work as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. But the place makes her flesh crawl. It's all about the dead here, she's told, and in the heart of the house she soon discovers all manner of dark secrets . . . Frost Hollow Hall is a thrilling historical fiction debut. Told in Tilly's unique voice, it is a tale of love and loss, and how forgiveness is the key to recovery.


All the book synopsis included have been used from Waterstones, you can shop all of Emma Carroll's books via their website here.


© 2018 Bluebird Reviews

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