Edna Lyall was the pen name of Ada Ellen Bayly, born in Brighton, England, the youngest of four children. She was orphaned at a young age and grew up partly at the home of an uncle in Surrey and partly at boarding school. She lived her adult life with her two married sisters and a clergyman brother in London, Lincoln, and Eastbourne. In 1879, she made her literary debut with the novel Won by Waiting, published under her pseudonym, apparently an anagram of her birth name. She gained prominence with We Two (1994), based on the life of Charles Bradlaugh, a controversial British social reformer. Her first big hit was the historical novel In the Golden Days (1885), set in the reign of Charles II. During her career, she wrote 18 novels, many of them bestsellers, as well as a play, a memoir of her childhood aimed at young readers, and numerous shorter pieces.