Mary Brunton was a Scottish novelist. She was a direct contemporary of Jane Austen’s and wrote two published novels, one of which the Austen family is known to have read and enjoyed. Like many of her fellow novelists, she also recorded bits and pieces of daily life in a journal. The success of Brunton's novels seems to have lain in combining a strongly moral, religious stance with events that broke the rules of society. And as Fay Weldon wrote: "Improving the Brunton novels may be, but what fun they are to read, rich in invention, ripe with incident, shrewd in comment, and erotic in intention and fact."
The novel “Self-Control” narrates story of Laura Montreville, a beautiful and poor girl from the Scottish Highlands. She is pursued by Colonel Hargrave, an attractive libertine whose intentions are no good, but poor Laura falls in love. He offends her with an indecent proposal, realizes his mistake, and makes her an offer of marriage again, but Laura declines, citing moral and religious incompatibility. What may lie ahead in the fate of the couple and will they finally be together after all?