First published in 1859, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s third novel is set in eighteenth-century Newport, Rhode Island, a community known for its engagement in both religious piety and the slave trade. Mary Scudder lives in a modest farmhouse with her widowed mother an their boarder, Samuel Hopkins, a famous Calvinist theologian who preaches against slavery. Mary is in love with the passionate James Marvyn, but Mary is devout and James is a skeptic, and Mary’s mother opposes the union. James goes to sea, and when he is reportedly drowned, Mary is persuaded to become engaged to Dr. Hopkins.
With colorful characters, including many based on real figures, and a plot that hinges on romance, The Minister’s Wooing combines comedy with regional history to show the convergence of daily life, slavery, and religion in post-Revolutionary New England.