Mary Mackay was a British novelist who began her career as a musician, adopting the name Marie Corelli for her billing. She gave up music, turning to writing instead and in 1886 published her first novel, "A Romance of Two Worlds", regarded as one of the most culturally important Victorian bestsellers.
"A Romance of Two Worlds" starts with a young heroine telling her story of coping with a debilitating illness that includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Her doctor is unable to help her and sends her off on a holiday where she meets a mystical character by the name of Raffaello Cellini, an Italian artist. Cellini offers her a strange potion which immediately puts her into a tranquil slumber, in which she experiences divine visions. This is the beginning of her journey to health, both spiritual and physical.
In her time, Marie Corelli was the most widely read author of fiction but came under harsh criticism from many of the literary elite for her overly melodramatic and emotional writing.