Exceeded in popularity in its time only by "Uncle Tom's Cabin", this 1850 domestic epic narrates the seven year pilgrimage of a girl sent out into the world at age ten by her dying mother and careless father. Despite being passed from relative to relative, Ellen Montgomery remains faithful to her mother's memory and Christian teachings. As Jane Tompkins notes in her Afterword, this novel by Warner (1819-1865) is "compulsively readable, absorbing, and provoking to an extraordinary degree...More than any other book of its time, it embodies, uncompromisingly, the values of the Victorian era."
Susan Warner (1819-1865) began writing novels to aid her own impoverished family. She wrote religious and children's fiction, and her novel The Wide, Wide World was one of the most widely read nineteenth-century American stories.