Holley was a feminist, and her shtick was to argue for reform in the voice of homely, hefty, folksy goodwife named Samantha Allen. Samantha tries to talk sense into people in the down-to-earth dialect of her native village. Certain of her locutions are uncannily familiar -- she talks just like my Grandma Guthrie. Unlike Grandma Guthrie, however, Samantha shakes her head at the overblown conservatism of her fellow citizens. She's a common-sense progressive, but not a radical -- she promises that giving her the vote won't make her shirk her duties where pies and laundry are concerned.
The Samantha novels were bestsellers, and Holley was put in the category of a "regional humorist" (like Mark Twain). She kept churning out Samantha novels long after literary fashion had moved on to other things.
I find it fascinating that she was able to create a literary life for herself against the odds, to set up her own independence, to define her own politics. I doubt it would have been possible for her to launch herself any higher than she did -- not without cutting ties to Adams and moving to the big city. In the end, she did not turn out to be a female Mark Twain, but she did pretty well. Are there any modern Marietta Holleys coming out of Adams today? If there are, how long do they stick around after graduation?