There were bestsellers before The Joy of Cooking and The DaVinci Code. In fact, America’s first bestseller was published in 1682 and was written by a woman.
The bestseller in question was not a romance novel or a how-to get married after 40 kind of affair. It was an honest-to-goodness account of being taken captive by the Narragansett Indians and being sold to the Wampanoag Indians in order to fund the Native side of King Philip’s War.
The captivity narrative tells of Mrs. Rowlandson eating tree bark broth (delicious!), traveling all over western Massachusetts, and naming her ransom price. Pretty ballsy if you ask me.