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.
She married Edward Payson Terhune in 1857; they had two children.
She and Fannie Farmer both wrote popular cookbooks.
Her debut novel, Alone, went on to sell more than 100,000 copies.