A nineteenth-century American author, she is known for her 1854 novel, Alone, and for her 1871 non-fiction work, Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery. She also published several short story collections.
She attended a girls' seminary school in Richmond, Virginia in the mid-1840s. She began publishing articles in local newspapers when she was just fourteen years old.
Her debut novel, Alone, went on to sell more than 100,000 copies.
She married Edward Payson Terhune in 1857; they had two children.
She and Fannie Farmer both wrote popular cookbooks.