Saunders's first novel, a romance, My Spanish Sailor, was published in 1889. She wrote Beautiful Joe (1894), the story of an abused dog, for an American Humane Society competition. It won first prize and became a best-seller, was translated into more than 14 languages and was reportedly the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies.
Saunders travelled widely in the US, setting her children's stories of domestic animals and birds in the locales she visited. Her romantic novels include Esther de Warren (1927), her own favourite, based on her experiences in Scotland. In 1914 she moved to Toronto. In the 1920s she and her sister toured Canada and the US giving illustrated lectures.
A woman of charm and humour, she had an ever-growing interest in humanitarian concerns (especially regarding children) and the treatment of animals. Her stories of pets, while sentimental and didactic, are gracefully written and entertaining.
Author LORRAINE MCMULLEN
Links to Other Sites
Margaret Marshall Saunders's novel "Beautiful Joe," based on the story of a dog rescued from a brutal master.Beautiful Joe Heritage Society