Mary Johnston was the cousin of Confederate General Joseph Johnston. She used her knowledge of his actions along with the diaries of men and women who witnessed the events of the early Civil War to write her books. Her works combine fact with fiction to create historical novels. Prisoners of Hope is a story of colonial Virginia when the colony was seething with disaffection caused by the sending of rebels to the plantations. An excerpt from the beginning reads, "The object of her attention was a large sloop that had left the bay and was sailing up a wide inlet or creek that pierced the land, cork-screw fashion, until it vanished from sight amidst innumerable green marshes. The channel, indicated by a deeper blue in the midst of an expanse of shoal water, was narrow, and wound like a gleaming snake in and out among the interminable succession of marsh islets. The vessel, following its curves, tacked continually, its great sail intensely white against the blue of inlet, bay and sky, and the shadeless green of the marshes, zigzagging from side to side with provoking leisureliness. The girl who had spoken watched it eagerly, a color in her cheeks, and one little foot in its square-toed, rosetted shoe tapping impatiently upon the floor of the wide porch in which she stood."