Throughout nineteenth-century literature, the figure of the returnee works both as an embodiment of foreign infiltration, or infection, and as a catalyst for pressing issues at home. Victorian sensation novelists, we have seen, established these narrative structures and thereby at once reflected and helped to form persistent clichés about the New Worlds; about those who went there; and those who, for various reasons, returned from these places. Yet precisely because literary sensationalism had such an enormous impact on the representation of emigration in Victorian popular culture, writers of domestic fiction aimed to produce alternative portrayals of emigrants and returnees. These self-avowedly anti-sensational authors might draw on sensational formulae, but they did so in order to rework expected plots. The resulting narratives questioned what had become the expected ways of depicting settler life and the disruptive returnees this life seemed so readily to produce. This chapter takes the fictional family chronicles of the religious writer Charlotte Yonge as a case study of this deliberate reworking of sensational representational strategies. Her narratives of failed emigration sought to counteract such strategies both in popular fiction and in missionary propaganda. Even as her writing is infused with what her first biographer, Christabel Coleridge, has termed Yonge's ‘enthusiasm . . . for the spread of the Christian church in heathen lands’, 1 in the novels settlers are often badly prepared and in the way of missionaries, and both are misled by the clichéd images of excitingly ‘other’ places in the sensationalist propaganda of missionary societies. A close look at Yonge's fiction registers the intriguingly ambiguous responses to settlers’ and missionaries’ failure in Victorian Britain.