Mrs Henry Wood calls for attention as the most intrinsically representative woman novelist of the mid-Victorian era. (Malcolm Elwin, Victorian Wallflowers, 232.)

It has been said that nearly all Mrs. Henry Wood's works were written with a purpose. Yet nothing can be more mistaken. Her purpose was to interest and amuse her readers. At the same time, she always endeavoured, as far as possible, to elevate them; to raise the standard of morality; to set forth the doctrine of good and evil; to point out the two paths in life, and the consequences that must follow the adoption of either. (Charles Wood, "Mrs Henry Wood: In Memoriam," The Argosy XLIII [Jan.-June 1887], 349.)

[S]he did not ... sit passively by while her novels sold thousands of copies; rather, she actively shaped her career, her image, her magazine, and the profession of authorship itself with particular goals in mind. (Jennifer Phegley, "Domesticating the Sensation Novelist: Ellen Price Wood as Author and Editor of the Argosy Magazine," 194.)

If Mrs. Henry Wood had done nothing else as a novelist, she would still be entitled to the credit of having proved that two qualities which used to be thought incompatible may be sometimes found in conjunction. She is at once amusing and prosy. It is never an impossibility to get through one of her books, but at the same time the reader always wishes he could throw overboard a good deal of unnecessary ballast. (1864 review of Oswald Cray in The Reader) 1title1

Biographical material

Themes and Contexts

Genre, mode, and style

Social and political themes and contexts

Plot and structure

Literary relations: influence, confluence, and reputation


Last modified 25 July 2016