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

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Crown, Mar 10, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 400 pages
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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User Review  - nautilus - LibraryThing

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. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - WWDG - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

Contents

AN AFFAIR OF HONOUR
1
DOWN RIGHT GIRLISHN ESS
15
A WoRTHY LITTLE WOMAN
45
MY IMPRUDENCIES
66
Pow ERFUL PLEADING
93
Bow ES AND FREEDOM 18
118
LoATHSOME WEEDs
145
AN ARTFUL INTRIGUING Wom AN
199
to VILE TEMPTATIONS
225
THE TAMING OF BAD WIVES
274
OUT OF THE WORLD
313
Acknowledgments
325
IMPROPER LIBERTIES 17 3
349
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About the author (2009)

WENDY MOORE is the author of The Knife Man. A journalist and writer specializing in health and medicine, she lives in London with her husband and two children.

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