Molly Elliot Seawell's historical romances draw on the author's Catholicism, a religious affiliation unusual for someone of Seawell's social background. Although raised an Episcopalian, she early on read Thomas Babington Macaulay's 1840 essay on Leopold von Ranke's History of the Popes. His examination of the Roman Catholic Church and his critique of the Church of England eventually led Seawell to convert. Her romances include a heroic Jesuit priest-martyr (Dickie, in The House of Egremont); a courageous nun who nurses the wounded on the front lines (Lady Betty in The History of the Lady Betty Stair); and an assortment of priests, nuns, bishops, and a pope. She also demonstrates familiarity with Catholic theologians St. Thomas Aquinas (Children of Destiny) and the Venerable Bede (Throckmorton).