Wedlock: The True Story of the Disastrous Marriage and Remarkable Divorce of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore

Wendy Moore, Author . Crown $25.95 (386p) ISBN 978-0-307-38336-5

How did a wealthy, self-absorbed adulteress who despised her eldest son and aborted three pregnancies by a man she didn't love, transform into a devoted mother and pioneer of women's liberty? British author Moore (The Knife Man ) examines this remarkable conversion in Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749–1800), England's richest heiress, whose impulsive marriage to a violent Irish fortune seeker revolutionized divorce in Georgian England. A published poet-playwright and accomplished botanist, Mary expected to live an indulgent life. Yet she was lured into marriage to army captain Andrew Robinson Stoney, who proved to be a rapist, liar, kidnapper and philanderer who half-starved and beat Mary into submission. Stoney's own best friend called him “inhuman and savage, without a countervailing quality.” Moore offers a well-informed if dispiriting glimpse into 18th-century marriage and the patriarchal legal and church systems as experienced by Mary—still her husband's property and financially supported by her devoted servants—as she fought to regain her fortune, her children and, especially, her status as a person. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/19/2009
Release date: 03/01/2009
Paperback - 502 pages - 978-0-7538-2679-9
Paperback - 502 pages - 978-0-7538-2825-0
Open Ebook - 305 pages - 978-0-307-45223-8
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-307-38337-2
Hardcover - 359 pages - 978-0-297-85331-2
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