Anna Amnell's historical novels

Anna Amnell is a Finnish writer. She lives in Helsinki.

Anna Amnell's historical novels (longer article, Aurora-books and Lucia -books)

The writing of the Lucia Olavintytär trilogy. The third part is Lucia and Luka [Lucia and Luka], in Finnish. click to see a larger size

In Anna Amnell's "novel An Ell-Sized Girl (Kyynärän mittainen tyttö, 2004) the idea of difference is explored from the perspective of a short girl captured and taken to the court of Elizabeth I to live as a court dwarf." Kaisu Rättyä.

"Anna Amnell-- traite pour sa part de la différence dans Kyynärän mittainen tyttö (Haute d’une aune, 2004) en évoquant le destin d’une enfant de petite taille enlevée pour servir de lutin à la cour de la reine Élisabeth Ire."
(Virtual Finland)

In Anna Amnells "Roman Kyynärän mittainen tyttö (Das eine Elle große Mädchen, 2004) wird das Anderssein mit Hilfe des Schicksals eines Mädchens behandelt, das geraubt wird, um als Hofzwerg von Elisabeth I. zu dienen." (Virtual Finland)

"En su novela Una chica de un codo de altura (Kyynärän mittainen tyttö, 2004), Anna Amnell -- trata el tema de las diferencias a través de una narración sobre destino de una adolescente enana que es raptada y llevada a la corte de la reina Isabel I."(Virtual Finland)

Illustration: Matti Amnell
Lucia Olavintytär (Olav's daughter) can sing, play lute and speak and read many languages. She is a true Renaissance girl.


Aurora travels with Iida from Finland to Canada in 1903 in Anna Amnell's Aurora and Molly. The book was written and published in Finnish in 1999.  Read a short English excerpt:

"Early in the morning, while the apple trees were blossoming, Aurora and Iida were preparing to set out on the long journey. --

The luggage was carried from the hall into the carriage. First, the beautiful 
Parisian travelling chest that Aurora’s mother had brought from St. Petersburg when she was married. A wooden box that had been made by Iida’s father was placed beside it. He had painted it red with ochre and nailed sturdy leather straps at both ends.
The girls climbed aboard the carriage. Aurora placed a carpet bag beside her that contained her diary and drawing utensils.
“Are you sure you packed the plant press?” Aurora asked.
“Yes, it’s in the trunk,” Hilma assured her.
Iida squeezed the black bag she held in her lap. The bag had been given to her by Hilma, and it contained her most precious possessions: a heavy woollen scarf and under it a worn hymnbook given to her by her mother. The bag also contained Iida’s own wooden spoon that had her name carved on it, which she had taken out of the crack in the wall where she had kept it at home.
Aurora and Iida’s last memory of their home village was the smell of apple trees and the warbling of chaffinches in the birch trees that lined the road."
Anna Amnell : Aurora and Molly [Aurora ja Molly, 1991]
Trans. Marko Amnell and Mimi Amnell, copyright
Illustration: Matti Amnell (Jr)


Anna Amnell

Anna Amnell lives in Helsinki. She lived her childhood and school years in the rural area of Finland. She was an AFS-exchange student to the United States, was in Cyprus in 1974 and lived in Canada during the 19 80s. She has Master's degree from the University of Helsinki and has been a house-wife, and worked as a free lance journalist and teacher. She started writing fiction in her fifties. Anna Amnell is member of The Union of Finnish Writers, Writers in Helsinki and Finnish Writers for Children and Young People. She is married and has three adult children. For several years she has done meticulous research on the 16th century.
Anna Amnell's books (written in Finnish). Illustration: Matti Amnell

Anna Amnell

Blinnikka, Vuokko: Pirkko Pekkarinen [= Anna Amnell]. – Kotimaisia lasten- ja nuortenkirjailijoita 2. Toim. Ismo Loivamaa. Hki 1999: BTJ Kirjastopalvelu, s. 197-199.
Blinnikka, Vuokko: Anna Amnell. – Kotimaisia lasten- ja nuortenkirjailijoita 3. Toim. Ismo Loivamaa. Hki 2001: BTJ Kirjastopalvelu, s. 10-13.

Lucia-books (2004, 2006, 2013)

”Anna Amnell tells us about her journey as a writer of children’s books  from Italian renaissance to Turku castle through three books. Her heroine is Lucia, short in stature, who comes to the court  of Duke John and Catherine Jagellon in Turku, in the middle  of the 16th century. The background of the plot is a vast non-fiction part which deals with genetics and disturbances in growth, among other things. Besides Turku, Tallinn is also a scene of Amnell’s books, and the various ways of social behaviour are described, too.”  Vuokko Jokinen: Summary. -  Tyyris Tyllerö [Humpty Dumpty], a  journal of
children´s  culture, editor Kari Vaijärvi.  4/2013,  a special Turku edition, Ismo Loivamaa, editor. (Cover picture: Turku's library dog)

Lucia is En Ell-sized Girl (a short info in French, German, and Spanish)

Matti Amnell's illustration in Anna Amnell's "An Escape to Tallinn" [Pako Tallinnaan] 2006, Lasten Keskus

Writer's own words: From Florenze to Turku. My Long Journey in Renaissance [in Finnish

Anna Amnell: Lucia and Luka

Anna Amnell: Lucia and Luka.  [written in Finnish, Lucia ja Luka],  2013 Books on Demand

Lucia and Luka [Lucia ja Luka. Kyynärän mittainen tyttö ja poika]
Helsinki, Finland. Historical novel for young readers, 8-12 years old. Written in Finnish. B/W illustration by Matti Amnell.
(Lucia Olavintytär 3.)
2013 120 pages

ISBN 978-952-498-842-1
Cover: Jan van Hemessen: Die Goldwägerin
bpk/Gemäldegalerie, SMB/Jörg P. Anders
Author's picture: Turun Tietokuva
Illustration: Matti Amnell (Jr.)
Order from
Books on Demand (BoD)  
Price: € 19 90 *tax included

Themes: the 16th century, 1562-1563,  Turku, Wittenberg, Prince John of Finland, Catharina Jagellonica, renaissance court in Turku, Finland,  growth hormone deficiency, Erik XIVof Sweden, Ivan the Terrible, Lucia Olavsdaughter, Luka of Dalmatia, frienship, romantic love-

Ell-sized Lucia and her 13 years old brother Hannu move to Turku. Their father believes that a golden happy time begins, because Prince John of Finland has married a rich Polish princess Catharina Jagellonica in 1562.  Father wants Lucia to be accepted as a lutist and singer at Prince John’s court and Hannu to become a page.

Foreign wise men and musicians arrive  at Turku, among them Luka Dalmatian, 19 year old short-statured  son of a rich Venetian merchant.

Hannu reveals a plot to kidnap Princess Catharina and his sister Lucia and take them to Ivan the Terrible’s court in Moscow. When Prince John’s brother King Erik of Sweden attacks Turku Lucia and Hannu flee with their parents to Wittenberg where their brother Erasmus is already studying.

Lucia 2. 2006

Lucia II An Escape to Tallinn. [Pako Tallinnaan]
 "An Escape to Tallinn" is her sixth historical novel for young readers.
Lasten Keskus ISBN 951-627-595-8

17-year old Lucia is only 81cm tall. She comes to Helsinki to teach 13-year old Margareta to play lute. She has also a secret task to perform. Margareta is tall and beautiful. When her father dies her stepmother wants to marry her to a strange old man. The girls decide to escape to Tallinn to Margareta's uncle. It is winter, it is cold. Will the sea be frozen? Can they skate or walk over the sea to safety?

Lucia 1. 2004
Lucia I An Ell-Sized Girl [Kyynärän mittainen tyttö]

"An Ell-Sized Girl was shortlisted for Lasten LukuVarkaus -2005, a national children's book prize, which is given each year for the best children's book ( under 12 years old ).

Anna Amnell: Lucia I Fall 2004. Lasten Keskus.
ISBN 951-627-486-2
Helsinki, Finland. Historical novel for young readers, 8-12 years old. Written in Finnish. B/W illustration by Matti Amnell.

Themes: The 16th century, growth hormone deficiency, family, friendship, the Baltic Sea, Gotland, the Fens, Ely, London. Elizabeth I, Prince John of Finland in London.

Thirteen-year-old Lucia Olavintytär [fictitious character] is 2 ft 8 inches tall ( 81 cm). She lives a sheltered life at a rural manor house in the middle of the Finnish forests. Lucia and her brothers are given a good education by their father, a former monk. Lucia is good singer and lute player, she speaks and writes Latin fluently. Her father knows Lucia's worth in the sixteenth century world and tries to protect her. People like her were sold, kidnapped and donated to the kings and queens at the European courts to be used as companions, entertainers and nurses of the royal children.

On an early spring morning in 1559 Lucia goes to her usual ride accompanied by her servant boy. In a moment Lucia's life is changed. She is kidnapped and taken by boat first to Gotland and then to the Fens, the ancient swamplands of England, to be trained and sold to be a dwarf and spy at the court of the young Queen Elizabeth. What will happen to Lucia?

Anna Amnell's Aurora-books [in Finnish]

 2014 A new edition: The story of Aurora Koivu
And the post script by the writer

Anna Amnell: Vaahteralaakson Aurora. 2014. First three Aurora books in a new edition.  362 pages.

The story of Aurora Koivu. ISBN 978-952-286-355-3 Books on Demand
Read more/buy the book:

original AURORA-books (1991, 1993, 1995, 1999): immigration, children as servants, Canadian nature, art, friendship. A Finnish school girl in Helsinki and Toronto. All Aurora-books are sold out. You can find them in libraries. Published by Kirjapaja

A notice in a guidebook for Finnish elementary teachers about Anna Amnell's fiction: "detailed description of history, milieu and manners. - - History brought to life." Härkönen & Karjarinta & Pakarinen (Editors): Non-fiction and fiction for elementary schools. Helsinki 1994.

"Aurora Koivu", a fictitious character. [Aurora, Vaahteralaakson tyttö. Published by the name 'Pirkko Pekkarinen'= Anna Amnell]. 1991, 2nd pr. 1992. Publisher: Kirjapaja.
ISBN 951-625-089-4

Themes: 1903, russification in Finland, immigration to Canada, Canadian nature, Edwardian lifestyle, children as servants, romantic love.

Aurora's journalist father is expelled from the grandduchy of Finland. Aurora follows him to Toronto in 1903 and works as servant girl in an Edwardian household. [Aurora, Vaahteralaakson tyttö. Published by the name 'Pirkko Pekkarinen' ]


"Aurora and her cousins from Saint Petersburg." 1993. [Aurora ja Pietarin serkut.].  Published by the name 'Pirkko Pekkarinen'= Anna Amnell] Publisher: Kirjapaja. ISBN 951-625-158-7

Aurora studies art in Helsinki. Her cousin Olga comes to school to Finland. The girls experience the 1905 general strike in Finland

Themes: romantic love, Helsinki, 1905 general strike, school. The 1905 general strike from the point of view of schoolgirls and a non-Socialist family, history, immigrants to Toronto, Canadian nature, Edwardian life style, children as servants, romantic love.

"The time of the passenger pigeons." 1995  Published by the name 'Pirkko Pekkarinen'= Anna Amnell] [Aurora ja villikyyhkysten aika.] Publisher: Kirjapaja. ISBN 951-625-350-4

Aurora returns for a summer in Toronto with her Canadian fiancé Thomas. Themes: Toronto, Canada's nature, children as servants, ghosts.

"Aurora and Molly." [Aurora ja Molly.]1999. Publisher: Kirjapaja. ISBN 951-625-580-9

Aurora's story for younger readers, 8-10 years old. Black and white illustration by Anna Amnell's son Matti Amnell. Themes: 1903: friendship, russification in Finland, immigration to Canada, Toronto, Edwardian life-style, children as servants.

The copyright for all Aurora-books: Anna Amnell and Matti Amnell

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