Caroline Lee Whiting was born on June 1, 1800, in Lancaster, Massachusetts. At the age of twenty-four she married Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, a French political refugee. From 1826 to 1830 they lived in Chapel Hill, where he held a professorship in modern languages at the University of North Carolina. In 1830, for reasons that remain unclear, Professor Hentz left the university. He subsequently established a number of schools for girls, but the family always struggled financially. Though Caroline was busy assisting Nicholas by providing room and board for the students, in 1843 she wrote De Lara; or, The Moorish Bride for the Tremont Theater in Boston. She published Lovell's Folly in 1833, Aunt Patty's Scrap Bag in 1846, and The Mob Cap in 1848. When Nicholas's health failed in 1849, Caroline was left to provide for her family. Soon after, she began to publish regularly.
By the time of her death from pneumonia in 1856, Hentz had published eight novels. Linda; or, The Young Pilot of Belle Creole ( 1850) was her most popular. The next year, she published Rena, the Snowbird ( 1851). These were followed by Marcus Warland ( 1852), Eoline ( 1852), Helen and Arthur ( 1853), The Planter's Northern Bride ( 1854), Robert Graham ( 1855), and Ernest Linwood ( 1856). Love after Marriage; and Other Stories of the Heart appeared posthumously in 1857.
In his unpublished "Autobiography," Hentz's son, Dr. Charles Hentz, described his parents in the following way:
She was possessed of one of the most lovely, sunny dispositions that ever existed--was charming in person & conversation, and was always a center of attraction wherever she