The daughter of an American Civil War soldier who became a successful lawyer, Mary Johnston was born in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia. A small and frail girl, she was educated at home by family and tutors. She grew up with a love of books and was financially independent enough to devote herself to writing.Johnston wrote historical books and novels that often combined romance with history. Her novels were bestsellers in America, Canada and England.During her long career, in addition to twenty-three novels, Johnston wrote a number of short stories, one drama, and two long narrative poems. She used her fame to advocate women's rights, strongly supporting the women's suffrage movement.