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Wedlock: The True Story of the Disastrous Marriage and Remarkable Divorce… (2009)
de Wendy Moore
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Excellent biography of woman who managed to divorce her violent husband and regain her fortune in late 18th century England. Couldn't put it down.
Picked this book to take on holiday after seeing the review on TV Book Club. Initially I was put off as the cover makes it look like a 'bodice ripper' fiction book (not something i would go anywhere near). However once I started it I was gripped by this amazing TRUE story of an incredible lady who survived a horrendous ordeal at the hands of her husband and went on to fight convention and the law. It has it all villains, unlikely friendships, kidnap, abortion, money, courtroom drama and pioneering legal outcomes. I would recommed it to anyone who is interested in social history although it is written in such a way that anyone would find it entertaining and gripping read.
This is a horrifying tale set in the late 1700s of a wealthy, intelligent heiress tricked into marriage with one of the worst human beings who ever lived. "Wedlock" is truly the correct title for this book as it envokes the image of being chained, locked, stuck in marriage. Mary Eleanor has a loveless first marriage, but her marriage to Andrew Stoney (he takes her last name as stipulated in her very smart father's will) is truly horrific. Stoney physically and mentally abuses Mary: punching, kicking, burning, starving, isolating, etc. It's truly sickening. And then there's the fact that a woman had no legal protection from this sort of behavior. It was a husband's right to treat his wife as he chose. "Luckily" Stoney's behavior is so egregious that finally, after a decade of abuse, Mary Eleanor finds a friend in some servants who help her escape. Lengthy legal battles over the divorce, Mary's estate, and the children ensue over decades.
This is a fascinating look at the horrific lack of legal rights that women had in the 1700s. It's very well written and in places reads like a novel. It will turn your stomach to read about this woman's life, but I am glad I read this book. Can't say I enjoyed it because of the subject, but it's worth reading. It will make you very grateful to live when and where we do!
A well put together and interesting read. Combining plenty of historical fact with a great story telling tone Wendy Moore brings the trials of eighteenth century marriage to life.
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Wikipedia en anglès (3)
With the death of her fabulously wealthy coal magnate father when she was just eleven, Mary Eleanor Bowes became the richest heiress in Britain. An ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II, Mary grew to be a highly educated young woman, winning acclaim as a playwright and botanist. Courted by a bevy of eager suitors, at eighteen she married the handsome but aloof ninth Earl of Strathmore in a celebrated, if ultimately troubled, match that forged the Bowes Lyon name. Yet she stumbled headlong into scandal when, following her husband's early death, a charming young army hero flattered his way into the merry widow's bed. Captain Andrew Robinson Stoney insisted on defending her honor in a duel, and Mary was convinced she had found true love. Judged by doctors to have been mortally wounded in the melee, Stoney persuaded Mary to grant his dying wish; four days later they were married. Sadly, the "captain" was not what he seemed. Staging a sudden and remarkable recovery, Stoney was revealed as a debt-ridden lieutenant, a fraudster, and a bully. Immediately taking control of Mary's vast fortune, he squandered her wealth and embarked on a campaign of appalling violence and cruelty against his new bride. Finally, fearing for her life, Mary masterminded an audacious escape and challenged social conventions of the day by launching a suit for divorce. The English public was horrified-and enthralled. But Mary's troubles were far from over . . . Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was inspired by Stoney's villainy to write The Luck of Barry Lyndon, which Stanley Kubrick turned into an Oscar-winning film. Based on exhaustive archival research, Wedlock is a thrilling and cinematic true story, ripped from the headlines of eighteenth-century England.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)941.07092 — History and Geography Europe British Isles Historical periods of British Isles 1714-1837 Period of House of Hanover
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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Full review: http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2010/03/04/wedlock/ ( )