Hallie Erminie Rives

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Above: Hallie Erminie Rives c. 1918—although largely forgotten today, she was one of the most popular writers in early twentieth-century America.

Above: Hallie Erminie Rives c. 1918—although largely forgotten today, she was one of the most popular writers in early twentieth-century America.

Although largely forgotten today, Hallie Erminie Rives was one of the most popular writers in early twentieth-century America, catapulted to literary fame by A Furnace of Earth in 1900. She was also a true American ‘blue blood’ whose family loomed large in the history of Virginia (the colony in which Hearts Courageous was primarily set), her father having fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Her love of the South would dominate much of her writing, leading to some controversy when an earlier novel, Smoking Flax, veered close to supporting lynching. This did not stop newspapers of the time from revelling in tales of her unconventional youth, spent riding bareback and shooting with her father on their plantation after the early death of her mother. Rives would go on to write many more popular novels as part of a rich, well-travelled life that included a long marriage to the American diplomat Post Wheeler.

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