Literary Heroines | The Michaela MacColl Collection

Michaela MacColl

This week Michaela MacColl’s latest YA masterpiece; Secrets in the Snowwas released: to celebrate we are here to take a look at her library of literary heroines. From Louisa May Alcott to Emily Dickens, MacColl has brought our favourite authors to life with fictionalised stories based on their real lives.

The Revelation of Louisa May

The Revelation of Louisa May: A Novel of Intrigue and Romance

Louisa May Alcott can’t believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad and blossoming love.
Intertwining fact, fiction and quotes from Little Women, Michaela MacColl has crafted another plucky heroine whose story will keep readers turning pages until the very end.

The Revelation of Louisa May

Always Emily

Always Emily

Emily and Charlotte Brontë are as opposite as two sisters can be, but they have one thing in common: a love of writing. Can they use their imaginations to determine the connection between the mysterious death of a neighbour and the appearance of a handsome stranger? And will Emily find love along the way?

Always Emily

Nobody's Secret

Nobody’s Secret

When fifteen-year-old Emily Dickinson meets a mysterious, hand¬some young man who doesn’t seem to know who she or her family is and playfully refuses to divulge his name, she’s intrigued. She enjoys her secret flirtation with “Mr. Nobody”—until he turns up dead in her family’s pond. She’s stricken with guilt and is deter¬mined to discover who this enigmatic stranger was before he’s buried in an anonymous grave, an investigation that takes her deep into town secrets, blossoming romance, and deadly danger. A celebration of Emily Dickinson’s intellect and spunk, this exquisitely written and meticulously researched page-turner will excite fans of mystery, romance and poetry alike.

Secrets In The Snow

Secrets In the Snow 

Jane Austen‘s family is eager to secure her future by marrying her off. But Jane is much more interested in writing her novels, and finds every suitor lacking—until the mysterious Mr. Lefroy arrives. Could he be the one? Before Jane can find out, she must solve a murder, clear her family’s name and face a decision that might cost her true love.

Have you got a favourite? Share it with us @ACBYA #MichaelaMacColl.

Have yourself a very Merry Bookmas!

Merry Bookmas

Here at Abrams & Chronicle Books HQ we go all out celebrating Christmas. From the 1st December it is all mince pies, Christmas songs and tinsel…everywhere. To spread our festive joy beyond the four walls of our office we asked a selection of our authors to share their favourite Christmas songs with us.
First to board the A&CB Polar Express is Shea Serrano, author of The Rap Year Book. 

My favorite Christmas song is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from the How the Grinch Stole Christmas! TV special. I like it because it’s the only Christmas song that’s actually a rap diss song. It’s super mean. Look at some of the things they say about the Grinch:

“Your brain is full of spiders.”

This is devastating. What if it’s a medical illness? What if those are cancer spiders? One of the most famous rap diss songs of all-time is Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up.” It’s just this really hateful, hurtful song about Biggie. And at the end of it, Tupac makes fun of a person for having sickle cell. I would argue that making fun of someone with cancer spiders in their brain is worse.

“You’re soul is an appalling dump heap.”

His soul? It wasn’t enough with the cancer? The hatred here has transcended the physical realm. We’re into existential hate, the highest level of hatedom.

“Your heart is an empty hole.”


“You nauseate me.”

I mean, you don’t just say that to another living thing. It’s not even clever. It’s just hurtful.

“You’re a crooked jerky jockey.”

Possibly a gay joke, which is never acceptable.

“You drive a crooked horse.”

I don’t even know what this means, but it feels very bad.

Anyway, but so “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is my favorite Christmas song.

Clearly someone needs to create an anti-bullying policy in Whoville!

Stop by tomorrow (and everyday till Christmas!) for more Christmas songs, including picks from Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Anita Grace Howard and Jeffery Brown!


Psst – you can listen to the A&CB Bookmas playlist on our Spotify! See if you can guess who picked which song!

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Well Read Women

Today is International Women’s Day.

We are celebrating Womankind with these beautiful watercolour literary heroines, all of them written by our literary heroines, from Samantha Hahn’s Well-Read Women.

Catherine Earnshaw - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Catherine Earnshaw
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel it was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell; Brontë died the following year, aged 30.

Although Wuthering Heights is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature, contemporary reviews for the novel were deeply polarised; it was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty and it challenged strict Victorian ideals, including religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality.

Esther Greenwood - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“Sometimes just being a woman is an act of courage.”

The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath. Originally published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963, the novel is semi-autobiographical, the protagonist’s descent into mental illness parallels Plath’s own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first UK publication. The novel was published under Plath’s name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, pursuant to the wishes of Plath’s mother and her husband Ted Hughes.

Joe Marsh - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Jo March
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.  The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the Alcott and her three sisters.

In the pages of Little Women, you read the normalisation of ambitious women. This provided an alternative to perceived gender roles. Little Women repeatedly reinforces the importance of individuality and female independence. 

Edna Pontellier - The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Edna Pontellier
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first published in 1899.

Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women’s issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating mixed reaction from contemporary readers and criticism.

Lorelei Lee - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Lorelei Lee
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes began as a series of short sketches published in Harper’s Bazaar, Known as the “Lorelei” stories, they were satires on the state of sexual relations; quadrupling the magazine’s circulation overnight.The heroine, Lorelei Lee, was a bold, ambitious flapper, who was much more concerned with collecting expensive baubles from her conquests than any marriage licenses, in addition to being a shrewd woman of loose morals and high self-esteem. She was a practical young woman who had internalised the materialism of the United States in the 1920s and therefore equated culture with cold cash and tangible assets.
A bold story with a bold heroine.
Share you literary heroines – fictional characters and authors – with us on twitter using the #WellReadWomen