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.

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“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

Mending Horses

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.

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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.

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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.

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