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Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match Paperback – 26 Dec 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (26 Dec. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753828251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753828250
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This splendid book, well researched and richly detailed, is as gripping as any novel (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Wedlock is the best biography that I have read in a long time. It's gripping, addictive and painstakingly researched (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

The remarkable story of one woman's triumph over years of appalling violence and abuse (DAILY EXPRESS)

How Mary, with the help of a loyal servant, struggled to escape Stoney's clutches is the breathless and inspirational climax of this fine book (TIMES)

Mesmerising . . . entertainingly digressive and rigorously researched (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Mary's escape, her abduction by Stoney and dramatic rescue are grippingly told (INDEPENDENT)

Moore has meticulously constructed an ever more compelling tale (GUARDIAN)

Gallops headlong towards an unbelievably tense denouement which any work of Hollywood fiction would struggle to match (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

Biography needs more Wendy Moores (NEW YORK TIMES)

Moore, mistress of suspense, writes in the gripping language of a thriller...This book has it all - the blackest of villains, the strongest friendship, kidnap, abortions, riches and all completely true. (OBSERVER)

'Moore fashions a gripping narrative' (SUNDAY TIMES)

'Wendy Moore tells her tale with gusto' (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Beginning with a bloody duel and the deathbed marriage of one of the combatants, this torrent of a biography sweeps the reader along... Mary's prolonged, audacious struggle to extricate herself from this marriage is a natch for Hollywood. (INDEPENDENT)

gripping and meticulous (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

This lurid tale of high-society sadism grips from the first page. (INDEPENDENT)

rip-roaring (SUNDAY EVENING POST)

Moore paints a fresh, vivid picture of the age (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

'The remarkable story of one woman's triumph over years of appalling violence and abuse' DAILY EXPRESS

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Whether you are a fan or not of historical fiction/biographies you must buy/beg or borrow a copy of this wonderful book. (So far my favourite of 2010)Infact the subject matter is so important to how far Womens rights have come on in our society that this book should be made compulsory reading for all teenage girls at school/college. I don't want to give any of the plot away, so won't go into detail just that it reads like a novel rather than a biography and reading is believing this womans life and situation. Its sometimes hard to believe that these "things" happened to this poor woman, but easy for us to say in a modern equal society now. Wendy Moore deserves great success with this novel her research and details are simply outstanding.Wonderful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dot on 12 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wedlock has to be the best non-fiction book that I have read in a long while. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary Eleanor Bowes was not a fictional character but she had really lived through these horrendous events. Wendy Moore's book reads very much like a work of fiction, it is very detailed and the way she recounts Mary's life story from beginning to end has you gripped.
Mary Eleanor Bowes endured both physica; and mental abuse at the hands of the man she married. Andrew Robinson Stoney was a vile and sadistic man who would do anything for his own gain. Whilst there are many instances where the reader pities Mary during the book, Wendy Moore does not shy away from highlighting her many faults. Mary's unloving attitude to her eldest son cannot be explained nor can we ignore the consequences of her promiscuous behaviour before marriage. I think that Wendy Moore delivers a more credible book by presenting Mary warts and all. It is as if she is giving the reader all of the information she can in order for them to make their own minds up.
Moore highlights the lowly position of women during Mary's era. Mary came to the marriage with far more money, respectability and status but as soon as she had taken her vows she was powerless to the whims of her detestable new husband. What really struck me as I read the book was how many other Mary Eleanor Bowes were there and has the predicament of domestic abuse really changed that much. We know of Mary's treatment through diaries, letters and legal documents but how many other women suffered in the same way as her but did not divulge the mistreatment in any way.
I admit that I gave up turning back to the notes section each time that something was cited as I felt as though it took away the flow of the story for me.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By BookBug on 7 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Bought this book based on the reviews as it was not the sort of historical book that I would normally choose. If you haven't read this yet, BUY IT NOW!! It's absolutely fantastic and does not just describe the marriage itself but lets you understand the 18th century legal context in how it was possible for such a clever woman to become trapped in a life of misery. Have never read anything so gripping.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Kelly on 22 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Why should we be interested in the marital trails and tribulations of an 18th century society lady? Because Wendy Moore's meticulously researched biography of Mary Eleanor Bowes tells us an enormous amount about the development of attitudes to marriage, to property and the position of women. But much more than that, Wedlock is a superb piece of storytelling which rescues Bowes and her ghastly husband from long forgotten archives and transforms them into living, breathing characters. The climax of this beautifully crafted book is the pursuit of the kidnapped Bowes by her friends and servants through the length and breadth of England.Told at a breakneck pace, you feel yourself to be galloping along behind Bowes' husband and his disreputable cronies, willing the flawed heroine to survive.
Thackeray turned this true story into a novel, Kubrick made it a film - but this is the genuine article and surpasses them all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hiljean VINE VOICE on 19 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Subtitled: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband met his Match, and rightly so, for it is an incredible story. When Britain's wealthiest heiress, Mary Eleanor Bowes, was tricked into marriage by Andrew Robinson Stoney, little did she know what she was letting herself in for. Once he had got his hands on her money she was beaten, abused and locked up for 8 years before she made her escape. It was a further 4 years before she successfully sued for restitution of her pre-nuptial rights and a divorce, but not without having been kidnapped by Stoney who was chased around the North of England before he surrendered. An amazing account, almost unbearable to read, and written in a very accessible, page-turning style.

I would have given it five stars but I did find the years when Mary Eleanor was with Stoney somewhat repetitive and depressing - at times I could hardly bear to read on. But it was worth it. The last 100 pages particularly are gripping and almost beyond belief. What an extraordinary story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Southern on 18 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating story, well researched and yet structured like a novel with a tense and exciting climax. It provides a real insight into how a man could trick and oppress a woman at a time when married women had no rights to own property. I thought I knew about this period, but there were many new insights. Everyone in our book club enjoyed it.
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