Welcome to the website of M.P. Barker, Writer, Editor, Historical Consultant, and Time Traveler. Her critically acclaimed historical novels, A Difficult Boy and Mending Horses, have brought 19th-century New England to life for thousands of readers. She’ll be your guide for what Kirkus Reviews calls “an absorbing look into a patch of past not often examined.”
Award-Winning Historical Fiction
A Difficult Boy
Their shared love for a horse brings together two indentured servants who must overcome their differences to outwit their tyrannical master and win their freedom.
“Barker’s gift for historical detail illuminates this absorbing first novel, accurately portraying the pleasures and the harsh realities of 19th-century Massachusetts farm life.” —Publishers Weekly
Three outcasts—an Irish horse whisperer, a roving peddler, and a child fleeing an abusive father—mend each other’s broken lives as they heal a circus’s mistreated horses.
“Mending Horses may be the best book I have reviewed in the past year. [The] novel is dramatic, insightful and lyrical . . . meticulously researched and smoothly paced. . . . The book has dark moments, but its message of hope and understanding should move teenagers and adults.” —Greenfield [Mass.] Recorder
Images of America: Chicopee
A pictorial history of a Western Massachusetts industrial community from its first settlement in the 1660s to the post-World War II era, featuring more than 200 vintage images.
The Sisters of Providence of Holyoke, Massachusetts
Co-authored with Tom Shea and Suzanne Strempek Shea. Written in celebration of the 140th anniversary of the Sisters’ arrival in Holyoke, Massachusetts, this book explores the history of a group of extraordinary women, from their roots in Montreal to the present.