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Wedlock
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Once the richest heiress in Britain, Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749-1800), ancestor of the current queen, was a highly intelligent and accomplished woman renowned as a gifted botanist and playwright. She nevertheless frequently exhibited poor judgment, particularly with regard to men. After Mary was widowed at age 27, there was no shortage of suitors vying for her hand in marriage. Debt ridden and a recent widower, Capt. Andrew Robinson Stoney staged a duel pretending to defend Mary's honor and feigned injury to procure Mary's sympathy. Convinced of his imminent death, Mary agreed to marry him even though she was betrothed to someone else. She was thereafter subjected to unimaginable cruelty, violence, and degradation at the hands of her husband and was kept as a virtual prisoner. In an era when domestic abuse was an accepted part of marital life, Stoney's inhumane treatment of Mary still shocked many. Eventually, Mary was able to escape her captor and successfully petitioned for divorce, which was difficult if not impossible for a woman to obtain at that time. Moore (The Knife Man) skillfully depicts Mary's life with poignant detail in an exhaustively researched book that joins only a few works about Bowes. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Carrie Benbow, Toronto P.L., Ont. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"To call the truth stranger than fiction is, in the case of Mary, Countess of Strathmore, an outrageous understatement. "Wedlock" is the incredible story of her transformation from one of eighteenth-century England's richest, most free-wheeling heiresses into a piteous victim of a cruel, manipulative abuser into an improbable poster-child for modern women's rights. This book is what all history should be: exciting, inspiring, impossible to forget. "
--Caroline Weber, author of "Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution"
"What a story! A beautiful, wealthy countess, accustomed to a life of cosseted privilege, is deceived by an almost impossibly dastardly scoundrel. In Wendy Moore's skillful hands, the decadent and complex world of eighteenth century England, from the broad lawns and exquisite gardens of vast country estates to the Dickensian murk of the London courts, springs to life in all of its gorgeous detail. A darkly fascinating tale of seduction and domestic abuse."
--Nancy Goldstone, author of "Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
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"Drawing on her extensive research and sure grasp of the period, Wendy Moore has produced a gem. Her compelling account of the feisty Countess of Strathmore is a beautifully written page-turner of a book."
--Julia Fox, author of "Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
""A gripping story, brilliantly told. The tragic history of Mary, Countess of Strathmore, is more than a cautionary tale. Mary is a true heroine: a survivor and a fighter against a brutish husband and an uncaring society. Wendy Moore succeeds admirably in describing a marriage that was forged in hell but livedon earth."
--Amanda Foreman, author of "Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire"

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