2. Mrs. Henry Wood
When talking about the most successful authors of the second half of the 19th century, the name Mrs. Henry Wood doesn’t often come up anymore. But make no mistake about it, Wood wasn’t just successful—she was a sensation.
Ellen Wood (née Price), who wrote under the name Mrs. Henry Wood, was a prolific writer with more than 30 novels and 100 short stories to her credit. Her most popular novel was 1861’s East Lynne, a romantic melodrama that was printed in five editions by the end of 1862 and sold around 500,000 copies by 1900, according to her publisher. It was most notably adapted into a 1931 film that earned itself an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Wood’s influence stretched far beyond one bestseller—she was also known as a force in the mystery and crime genres, and she was the owner/editor of the highly influential literary magazine Argosy.