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Rosa Nouchette Carey

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Name  Rosa Carey

Role  Writer
Full Name  Rosa Nouchette Carey
Born  27 September 1840 (1840-09-27) Stratford-le-Bow, England
Occupation  novelist and children's writer
Died  1909, Putney, London, United Kingdom
Books  Lover Or Friend, Not Like Other Girls: A Novel, Our Bessie, Doctor Luttrell's first patient, Wee wifie

Rosa Nouchette Carey (27 September 1840 – 9 July 1909) was an English children's writer and popular novelist, whose works reflected the values of her time and were thought of as wholesome for girls.



Born in Stratford-le-Bow, Rosa was the sixth of the seven children of William Henry Carey (died 1867), shipbroker, and his wife, Maria Jane (died 1870), daughter of Edward J. Wooddill. She was brought up in London at Tryons Road, Hackney, Middlesex and in South Hampstead. She was educated at home and at the Ladies' Institute, St John's Wood, where she was a contemporary and friend of the German-born poet Mathilde Blind (1841–1896). Her first novel, Nellie's Memories (1868), arose out of stories she had told to her younger sister.

As her writing career expanded after the death of her parents, so did her family responsibilities. When her mother died in 1870, she and an unmarried sister went to keep house for a widowed brother and look after his children. Later the sister married and the brother died, leaving Carey in sole charge of the children. Among her close friends was the prolific novelist Mrs Henry Wood. The poet Helen Marion Burnside came to live with her in about 1875, and Carey's sister returned to keep house for them after her husband died. Carey died of lung cancer at her home in Putney, London on 19 July 1909.


Nellie's Memories appears to have sold over 50,000 copies. Most of her 33 three-decker novels told pious, domestic stories, thought of as wholesome fiction for girls in the last third of the 19th century. Often sentimental, they reflect the values of the period, "treating housekeeping and woman's caring role as real work." However, her 1869 novel Wee Wifie features vitriol-throwing, opium addiction, and hereditary insanity. Also notable are Carey's sympathetic portrayals of women suffering from mental illness. Several novels suggest mental health can be ensured by "control of the will", as advocated by the psychiatrist Henry Maudsley. One of her books, Heriot's Choice (1879), was serialised in Charlotte M. Yonge's magazine The Monthly Packet and another, Mistress of Brae Farm (1896) in Argosy. She was a less intellectual, religious and humorous writer than Yonge, but placed her characters shrewdly in the populous urban, book-buying middle class.

Carey was on the staff of the Girl's Own Paper, for which she wrote eight serials. She also penned a laudatory biographical collection of Twelve Notable Good Women of the XIXth Century (1899), including Queen Victoria and the Quaker philanthropist and reformer Elizabeth Fry.

The London publisher Macmillan had 18 novels by Carey on their Three-and-Sixpenny Library list in 1902. Some of her books were still being reprinted by the Religious Tract Society in the 1920s. These days there are secondhand and print-on-demand copies available.

Carey is no longer thought to have been the author of four thrillers published under the pseudonym Le Voleur in the 1890s.

Published works

Carey was a prolific author; the list of her works on the British Library catalogue reflects a publishing rate of at least a book a year.

  • Nellie's Memories: A Domestic Story (London: Tinsley Bros., 1868)
  • Wee Wifie (London, 1869)
  • Wooed and Married (London: Tinsley Bros., 1875)
  • Heriot's Choice (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1879)
  • Queenie's Whim (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1881)
  • Not like Other Girls (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1884)
  • Robert Ord's Atonement (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1884)
  • For Lilias (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1885)
  • Uncle Max (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1887)
  • Esther (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1887)
  • Only the Governess (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1888)
  • Aunt Diana (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1888)
  • The Search for Basil Lyndhurst (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1889). Reissued as Basil Lyndhurst (1895)
  • Merle's Crusade (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1889)
  • Lover or Friend? (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1890)
  • Our Bessie (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1891)
  • Averil (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1891)
  • Sir Godfrey's Grand-daughters (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1892)
  • But Men Must Work (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1892)
  • Mrs. Romney (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1894)
  • Little Miss Muffet (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1894)
  • Tiney's Birthday Gift (1894)
  • The Mistress of Brae Farm (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1896)
  • Other People's Lives (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1897)
  • The Old, Old Story (London: R. Bentley & Son, 1897)
  • Doctor Luttrell's First Patient (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1897)
  • For the Love of a Bedouin Maid (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1897)
  • Mollie's Prince (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1898)
  • Barbara Heathcote's Trial (London, 1898)
  • Cousin Mona (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1897)
  • Twelve Notable Good Women of the XIX Century (Hutchinson, 1899)
  • Marquise (1899)
  • My Lady Frivol (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1899)
  • Rue with a Difference (London: Macmillan & Co., 1900)
  • Life's Trivial Round (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1900)
  • Herb of Grace (London: Macmillan & Co., 1901)
  • The Highway of Fate (London: Macmillan & Co., 1902)
  • Mary St. John (London: Macmillan & Co., 1903)
  • Effie's Little Mother (London: R. Tuck & Sons, 1903)
  • At the Moorings (London: Macmillan & Co., 1904)
  • The Household of Peter (London: Macmillan & Co., 1905)
  • Esther Cameron's Story (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1906[?])
  • No Friend Like a Sister (London: Macmillan & Co., 1906)
  • The Angel of Forgiveness (London: Macmillan & Co., 1907)
  • The Sunny Side of the Hill (London: Macmillan & Co., 1908)
  • The Key of the Unknown (London: Macmillan & Co., 1909)
  • By Order of the Brotherhood (London: Jarrold & Sons, 1913)
  • A Passage Perilous (London: Hodder & Stoughton, [n.d.])
  • References

    Rosa Nouchette Carey Wikipedia