Barbara Hofland, née Wreaks or Wreakes, was the daughter of a Sheffield manufacturer who died when she was three years old. She was raised by an aunt and began writing for the local newspaper. In 1796, she married Thomas Bradshawe Hoole, a businessman. She was left a widow with an infant son only two years later and supported herself partly by writing poetry. In 1809 she opened a girls' boarding school at Grove House, Harrogate, developing it as a young ladies finishing school before moving to London in 1811. The following year, she married Thomas Christopher Hofland, a painter. Her writing continued to be the main financial support of the family and she was prolific, producing nearly 70 books for adults and young readers over 40 years. She befriended the architect John Soane and the writers Maria Edgeworth and Mary Russell Mitford. Her first published novel was The Son of a Genius (1812). Among her many popular books were The Blind Farmer and His Children (1816), Tales of the Priory (1820), Tales of the Manor (1822) and Self-Denial (1835). She also wrote geographical and topographical books for educational purposes.