Emma Marshall's output as a writer during the latter part of the nineteenth century amounted to almost two hundred volumes: a rate of production necessitated by the bank crash which lost her husband his job. She began with fiction for children, but branched out into historical romances and cheaply produced penny novels. All her fiction has a strongly religious or didactic tone. Much of it is local: the occasion for her writing, particularly of historical novels, was often a place she knew well or had visited, and its connections with figures known to history. She also wrote for periodicals, and produced private occasional poetry, letters, and journals.