A Northern Light, also known as A Gathering Light in the U.K., is a young adult historical novel written by Jennifer Donnelly. Harcourt Children’s Books released the novel on April 1st, 2003.
The novel takes place in Herkimer Country and explores the life of sixteen-year-old Mathilda "Mattie" Gokey as she struggles to attain the freedom to attend university and distance herself away from her troubled family life. There are many allusions to the empowerment of women by giving them access to education and Donnelly draws on this concept to address gender issues that are still prevalent in the community today.
The novel has been labeled as Realistic Fiction due to the involvement of the Grace Brown murder case, which is combined with the fictional like of Mattie Gokey. The novel led Donnelly to win the 2003 Carnegie Medal for the year's outstanding book by a British author for children or young adults.