The Independent
New York: 16 November 1854

Editor's Book Table.

  IDA MAY; a Story of Things Actual and Possible. By MARY LANGDON. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co. New-York: J. C. Derby.

  WE observe that the Evening Post affirms with much confidence that this book is from the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Post is an authority in literature; yet we are constrained to deny that Mrs. Stowe is or can be the author of Ida May. Not that this work is, as the Post thinks, decidedly superior to Uncle Tom; but differs from that world-renowned book in almost every trait that characterizes the peculiar genius of its author

  "Mary Langdon" may be the real name of the author; but we can not avoid thinking that like "Elizabeth Wetherell" in the title-page of The Wide, Wide World, it is only assumed as a convenient method of anonymous authorship. Be that as it may, we venture to say that Mary Langdon--spinster, wife, or widow--is a much younger writer than Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe was when she committed Uncle Tom's Cabin to the printer; younger not certainly in years, but in experience and practice of writing stories. Mrs. Stowe will never write a better book than the success of which, in the face of the most interested and laborious detraction, is unparalleled in the history of literature; but Mary Langdon, we are confident, has by no means exhausted herself in the production of Ida May. We think we see in this book tokens of a power which has not yet been fully developed.

  Ida May is the story of a white child, kidnapped and sold into slavery. It professes to embody "ideas and impressions received by the writer during a residence in the South." Thus, like Dr. Nehemiah Adams's new book, it is "a South-side view of slavery"--South-side, not as being in full sympathy with the great Southern institution, but as having been taken under a Southern sun. Mary Langdon, whoever she may be, has seen the South, and in this story she gives us her representation of Southern society. The picture has lights as well as shades, but none can find in it any apology for slavery. It will help even the best informed to understand that subject better. Mary Langdon has observed "things actual" with a human and a Christian eye, and with no little insight into the philosophy of human nature.

  We can not but anticipate for this book a wide circulation; and we trust we shall hear from the author again.