Cover of Girl in a Cage by Jane Yolen and Robert J Harris

Stuart Quartet: Girl in a Cage

The Stuart Quartet:

I first heard the story of wicked King Edward Longshanks putting the captured Scottish Countess of Buchan in a cage through a folksong. Then I found out that Longshanks had not only put her in a cage, but Robert the Bruce’s sister and twelve year old daughter as well. I knew there was a book there, the problem was which one: Which captive, which story, what kind of book? The answers all came together after Bob Harris and I did our first Scottish novel — Queen’s Own Fool. Clearly Girl in a Cage was a companion book, which set it as Young Adult. The only Young Adult in the story was Marjorie Bruce, the daughter. So it became her story, how through captivity and privation, she grew from a spoiled princess to a strong patriot.I wrote the opening paragraphs, then sent it to our editor, who jumped at the story. It took about a year to research and write, with much of the work being done while I was in Scotland and could confer closely with Bob, though the revisions were completed when we were an ocean apart.


  • ALA 2003 Best Books for Young Adults
  • Junior Library Guild choice
  • Pennsylvania’s Young Reader’s Choice Masterlist for 2004-2005.
  • Nevada’s NYRA Award nominee 2004-2005
  • Louisiana’s Young Reader’s Choice Honor Book, grades 6-8, 2005
  • New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment 2004-5 nominee
  • New Hampshire’s Isinglass Teen Book Award nominee 2004-5
  • Rhode Island’s Teen Book of the Year nominee 2004
  • Utah’s Beehive Award nominee for YA literature 2004-2005
  • Delaware’s Blue Hen Book Award 2004 WINNER***
  • Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Award nominee 2004-2005

What reviewers have said:

  • “The team that brought readers the immediacy and impact of Queen’s Own Fool returns with another historical page-turner. … What is particularly engrossing is how Marjorie works out in her own mind how a princess should behave, even when caged like an animal. Yolen and Harris allow readers to see that courage can take many forms and that honor knows neither age nor gender. — Booklist starred review
  • “Yolen and Harris once agin dish up an intense drama drawn from Scottish history. … Fans of Karen Cushman’s Catherine, Called Birdy and Matilda Bone will welcome this new tale of a strong-minded young woman, coming of age and holding her own in a hostile medieval world.” — Kirkus starred review
  • “The coauthors of Queen’s Own Fool (Philomel, 2000) present an equally compelling interpretation of an earlier period in Scotland’s history told by another young protagonist. … Marjorie’s first-person narration of her captivity and the events leading up to it is exciting and moving, and her strategies for coping with a hideous imprisonment are models of ingenuity and staying true to oneself. The time line and afterword are helpful in understanding the historical context within which the authors place their well-wrought fictional tale.” — School Library Journal starred review
  • “A fascinating historical novel that will have you eagerly turning the page to see what happens next!” — KidsBookshelf

Review from Social Studies for Kids.

See Bob Harris’s thoughts on working with me.

Available in both softcover and hardcover.