Mary Augusta Ward was a British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs Humphry Ward. She began her career writing articles for Macmillan’s Magazine while working on a book for children, Milly and Olly. This was followed by a more ambitious, though slight, study of modern life, Miss Bretherton, the story of an actress. Ward’s novels contained strong religious subject matter relevant to Victorian values she herself practised. Her popularity spread beyond Great Britain to the United States. Her book Lady Rose’s Daughter was the best-selling novel in the United States, as was The Marriage of William Ashe. Ward’s most popular novel by far was the religious “novel with a purpose” Robert Elsmere.