Charlotte Mary Yonge was one of the most successful and prolific of Victorian novelists. She was born 11 August 1823 in the village of Otterbourne, outside Winchester, and died there seventy-eight years later on 24 March 1901. The daughter of a former army officer from the junior branch of a Devon gentry family, she grew up as an enthusiastic participant in the Tractarian revival. The Vicar of nearby Hursley, the Rev. John Keble, a leading figure in the movement, was a close friend of her parents. Under his influence, the two parishes became famous for a programme of religious education and church building. Charlotte Yonge began writing books to help teach children and subsequently also to raise money for other charitable works. From tiny stories and textbooks for village children she progressed to writing sophisticated adult fiction. Her success at both shaped the rest of her life. She became enormously influential and incredibly prolific. Even to list all her publications is a surprisingly difficult task. Some of the main landmarks of her literary career include: the publication of her first novel, Abbeychurch (1844); the founding in 1851 of the periodical The Monthly Packet which she edited for forty years; the appearance of her first bestseller, The Heir of Redclyffe (1853); the creation of her best-loved heroine, Ethel May, who first appeared in The Daisy Chain (1856), who also figures in several later novels including Modern Broods (1900); and the publication of her longest novel, seldom read today but probably her masterpiece, The Pillars of the House (1874). She never married, she lived in Otterbourne all her life, and it is hard to make much of a story of her life beyond this amazing productivity: as the letters show, the life is in the detail. The key moments in her personal life were probably the deaths of her father (1854), Keble (1866) and her mother (1868). The last event occurred when she was in her mid-forties. Many Victorian spinsters travelled widely, but she saw her sphere of duties as lying in Otterbourne, and she lived on there, sharing a house between 1872 and 1897 with the invalid Gertrude Walter, the sister-in-law of her only brother Julian. She wrote books on religion, on history, on geography, on botany, for children of different ages, she wrote modern and historical fiction for different audiences, she wrote letters of advice to aspiring authors, she wrote letters of recommendation for servants, she taught extensively in the village school and she supported Julian’s family when he lost most of his money. This correspondence shows how, living in this rather restricted sphere, and believing in that the subordination of women was ordained by God, she was deeply involved in many of the reformist programmes of Victorian England, and, both as a novelist and as an educational reformer, had an influence that extended to every corner of the globe.