Margaret Oliphant was born in Wallyford, Midlothian, the only daughter and youngest child of Francis W. Wilson, an excise clerk, and his wife, Margaret Oliphant: the family moved to Liverpool in 1838. Margaret received a literary education from her mother, whose pride in her daughter's talent was tempered by the conviction that it must not exempt her from the performance of a woman's domestic duties. It was while nursing her mother, and recovering from a broken engagement, that she wrote her first novel at the age of 17: this was subsequently published, without her permission, as Christian Melville(1856) by her middle brother, Willie, himself an aspiring novelist.
The beginning of Willie's slide into chronic alcoholism …
Jay, Lis. "Margaret Oliphant". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3412, accessed 09 December 2016.]