Tuesday, 17 August 2010
It's rare that I pick up a book in an airport that sets me on fire, but Wedlock: How Georgian Britains' Worst Husband Met His Match by Wendy Moore did just that.
Wedlock is the sort of cake you would bake if your ingredients included Heat Magazine, a top notch thriller and Kerry Katona's autobiography. It's a riotous read, with taut suspense and larger than life characters engaging in the type of 'truth is stranger than fiction' behaviour which would be considered implausible if incapsulated in fiction. Mary Eleanor Bowes, the heroine of the tale, is a millionairess, who is pursued for her fortune, tricked into marriage and trapped by the draconian laws which placed her person and her fortune. Her escape from the physical and mental torment of her marriage is nerve-wracking, thrilling and utterly involving.
This book embraces the personal, emotional and pyschological, exploring themes that are sadly still current today, but it also explores the larger framework of law, culture and the role of women. It is tragic, fascinating and inspirational and is great reading for anyone interested in the period and the laws surrounding marriage.