Dinah Maria Mulock was born at Hartshill, Stoke-upon-Trent, to the family of a Nonconformist clergyman. She wrote poetry from an early age and helped her mother teach in a small school. In 1831 the family went to live at Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire where she attended Brampton House Academy. After the death of her mother, Dinah moved to London, where she continued to study modern and classical languages, drawing and music, and worked on her writing. Her first published work was a poem celebrating the birth of Queen Victoria's daughter Vicky, the Princess Royal, in 1841. She wrote stories and novels for children and her success drew her into London literary circles. In 1865 she married George Lillie Craik, a publisher with Macmillan, and the couple went to live in Kent. Some of her works were signed D.M.M., Miss Mulock, or Mrs. Craik.