17 Dec 2010
Review: "Wedlock" - I now declare you husband and prisoner
If you - like me - have an interest in womens right and the history of England then you need to read this book: "Wedlock - How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match" by Wendy Moore.
In Georgian times matrimony was serious business - a contract that once ventured into it would almost impossible to get out of again, especially for women for whom marriage meant effectively becoming their husband's possession. When venturing into marriage, a womans possessions were transferred to her husband and from then on she lived at his mercy.
For Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heroine of "Wedlock", this was the case as for all women at the time - but not all women (luckily) were married to men like Mary Eleanor's husband... Mary Eleanor, one of the richest young heiresses of her time, married young to the Earl of Strathmore. An unhappy union and when the earl died Mary Eleanor took her life and fortune in her own hands and married a the self-styled Captain Stoney. This choice is a testament to Mary Eleanor's very flawed ability to judge characters because Stoney turned out to be a fortunehunter who speedily turned from ardent admirer into a cruel, bullying, vicious husband who specialised in both physically and mentally tormenting his wife.
I really enjoyed this book even though it was unsettling and upsetting at times. Getting a better understanding of how little rights women had in Georgian times. They were basically on par with children and some were treated with even less respect and understanding. Women were possession, trophies, things to be owned. One woman, however, stood up against her scoundrel of a husband and went to court to fight for freedom, fortune and family and that was Mary Eleanor Bowes. I was impressed by her courage and stubbornness, she really did fight like a tigress for her children and herself even though she knew that her husband was scheming to kill her.
Inspiring and impressive and very well-written. No dust lingers on these pages, I even sacrificed sleep last night to follow and cheer for Mary Eleanor as she fought for her liberty and for justice.