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Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match
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Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  973 ratings  ·  169 reviews
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 Strat ...more
Paperback, 502 pages
Published 2010 by Phoenix (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,806)
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Hannah
WOW

THIS book is the perfect example of why I love historical non-fiction. Based on well researched and documented sources, author Wendy Moore has penned an incredible, almost-defies-belief account of the life of Mary Eleanor Bowes, an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II (via the late Queen Mother). Just how well researched and documented can be attested by the 40 plus pages of meticulous end notes found at the end of the book. Wedlock is, quite simply, one of the most riveting books I've ever had the
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Pete daPixie
Here is another very kind donation to my reading pile by a neighbour of mine who was having 'a clear out'. She knows that I am a reader of historical non-fiction, so I was in receipt of a large collection of books, of which this one was included. To be honest I didn't quite fancy this, perhaps the title 'Wedlock-How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match' didn't fire my interest. Don't judge a book by it's title, could be the maxim here.
Wendy Moore's biography of the Countess of Strathmo
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Deirdre
Mary Eleanor Bowes was a lucky girl. An only child, she was indulged and educated but was also an heiress. Her first marriage wasn't really much, Lord Strathmore or John Lyon, wasn't really a good match, he didn't really approve of her botanical studies (though he didn't stop her); and he was a little jealous of the wealth she brought into the relationship, along with stipulations. In 18th Century England a woman owned nothing, it was the males in her life that owned things, she was completely d ...more
Jean Godwin Carroll
Aug 13, 2009 Jean Godwin Carroll rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Phillipa Gregory
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent book set in the 1770's in England. A reminder that women previously had zero rights afforded to them by law during that time. Mary Eleanor Bowes was a wealthy woman who was swindled into marrying a lowly military officer, Richard Stoney. Once married, everything she owned became his to do with as he pleased. Over the course of eight years, he squandered all of her money on gambling, prostitutes; kept her as a prisoner, and beat her savagely on a regular basis. This was actually allowed ...more
Gerry
Set against the background of Georgian England, this is an extraordinary family history as Mary Eleanor, Countess of Strathmore, is tricked into marriage with Andrew Robinson Stoney, an itinerant soldier.

How she paid for her mistake is almost unbelievable as her husband is not only a serial philanderer (how many illegitimate children he fathered is difficult to keep track of unless one has an abacus at one's side while reading the book) but an absolute brute of a husband who constantly beat his
...more
Carol
Apr 04, 2012 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history and social sciences majors
Shelves: history, biography
So many facts! A Goodreads friend recommended this when I asked a question. I wanted to get back into biographies, which I had not read in years. I think she also knew that I liked historical fiction. So this was a good choice.

Wedlock is so full of facts that it did not read so much as a biography, but a history dissertation. How anyone would find this much information on one person is amazing to me. Information for this woman and the period.

What was transfixing was the nature of the news, jou
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June
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa (scarlet21)
An interesting and fascinating insight into marriage, life and love in the Georgian era, where the majority of the upper and middle classes married for money and bloodline and where most women had no say whatsoever in how their lives were run. At a time when mistresses and illigitimate offspring were accepted by spouses, though sometimes hidden away, women were owned by their menfolk and the rule of thumb was law; this is a story that will resonate with modern horror stories of spousal abuse but ...more
Donna
Nov 07, 2011 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Donna by: a colleague
As a woman, this is the kind of book that makes you glad you're alive now, and appalled by the inequality that those before us suffered through.

This is a truly remarkable tale of survival - the story in Mary Eleanor, Countess od Strathmore, who was tricked into marrying a monster. Written in a clear voice with the dramatic balancing the factual, this is a captivating biography that will keep you hooked from start to finish.
Wanda
Jun 03, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie
3 JUN 2014 -- arrived today from Bettie. Thank you very much! This looks to be quite the read. Perfect for Summer.
Kay Bolton
Review taken from my Blog Post #110 in April 2011, after borrowing the book from the library.

This should have been entitled "You Couldn't Make it Up .... Seriously" a masterpiece of a Biography on the Heiress Mary Eleanor Bowes and detailing her first marriage to the Earl of Strathmore (making them the great-great-great-grandparents of our deceased Queen Mother, Elizabeth (Bowes-Lyon) and her second marriage to Irishman Andrew Robinson Stoney ..... note I said Irishman, not gentleman .... he mos
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Kerin Ingman
Well what can I say about this book

This is a story of a Georgian amazingly wealthy heiress (and ancestor of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and therefore Queen Elizabeth II) who was married off to the Earl of Strathmore. After the end of the loveless marriage she ends up marrying Captain Stoney (where the phrase 'stoney broke' comes from) whether she did this because she was naive, stupid or was manipulated by Captain Stoney (or a combination of all three) is not me to decide but the real story
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Valerie
I love history, especially high profile characters and their crazy true lives. The subject of this book was great. I felt that the author did a lot of research and knew the subject very well. I learned a lot about the time. I am also reading "vanity fair" which takes place in this time.

Eventually I got a bit tired of the whole "women had no rights!!!" mantra. I mean, it was true, and that was bad, but do we have to say it on every page?

I felt that the writer talked down to me, occasionally overe
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Fence
Mary Eleanor Bowes was born in 1749. Her father was extremely wealthy and, unusually for the time, had her well educated. A most eligible young woman, not least because she was the richest heiress in C18th Britain. Her first wedding was nothing unusual for the time. Pretty loveless and to an older man it wasn’t a romantic love match. Her second, to a dashing young soldier, was. Mary Eleanor probably hadn’t intended to marry Andrew Robinson Stoney, but upon hearing that he had fought a duel for h ...more
Jodi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice
I absolutely loved this book. It's a truly fascinating read about a very strong woman, who manages to escape an horrifically abusive marriage during the 18th century via divorce. And she managed to escape with most of her fortune intact, as well as with her children. All of which was virtually unheard of until, really, the 20th century. Although heartbreaking in many ways, I couldn't help but be utterly inspired. And the author managed to take a real life event and turn it into a riveting story. ...more
Helga
An outrageous and tawdry tale!
Fantastically researched, it is a fascinating and thrilling story.
Pru Sly
Rattled through this one as the story is SUCH a winner! The absolute depravity of this foul man makes a rollicking good read and it was fabulous that he got his just deserts through the sheer bloody-minded of a strong woman fighting against all odds in a time when women's right simply didn't exist. Closed the cover and immediately recommended it to a friend and thoroughly expect it to do the rounds of all the girls.
Joanne
This is the story of Mary Eleanor Bowes, born in 1789, the attractive, educated and pampered only child of an extremely wealthy County Durham coal magnate. Her father died when she was a child and she almost immediately became a target for fortune hunters. In Georgian Britain rich people did not often marry for love, and this was the case with Mary Eleanor. Her first marriage, to the Earl of Strathmore, wasn't happy, but fairly brief; he died after they had been married for eight years. But it w ...more
Xorosho
Wendy Moore evidently has a favourite subject, and that subject is fucked-up Georgian relationships and the women who survive them.

This is a biography of Mary Eleanor Bowes, ancestor of the late lamented Queen Mum, born with a platinum spoon in her mouth and another one gripped in each tiny, pudgy fist. Her father was a coal magnate who died when she was still a young girl, leaving her one of the richest heiresses in Europe. She married the Earl of Strathmore, but though they had five children,
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Johanna H.
This is an exceptionally good book, reading at times like a novel it draws you in and doesn't let you go until you've finished it.
This is the story of Mary Eleanor a wealthy heiress and the richest woman in 18 Century Britain. Highly intelligent but sometimes very naive she was a poor judge of character. For this she had to pay dearly in her life, not once but two times. It is a story of Andrew Robinson Stoney, one of the worst Husbands of all times, so bad, that if he was the villain in a novel
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Liz Barr
A rather harrowing account of an abusive marriage in the Georgian era. Mary Eleanor Bowes is intelligent and educated, but demonstrates rather poor judgment in the year of her widowhood, culminating in her marriage to a fortunehunter. After enduring eight years of abuse, she leaves her husband, at which point he goes the full Saatchi -- smearing her reputation, attacking her in public, and finally abducting her outright.

Not a book for the fainthearted, but I was glad to have, for once, a tail o
...more
Lynn Moore
Well researched detailed historical biography which reads like a modern thriller. Hard to believe it is a true true story at times. Inspiring story of a strong woman fighting against an abusive husband and a more abusive legal system. Gripping.
Naomi
This book is a 4.5/5 star read for me. It was like a really good soap opera what this woman went through that it is hard to believe it really happened. I think the other thing that stood out to me was the unbending strenght of her.
Rosemary Wong
I had started reading this book a while ago but for some reason, didn't get far into it. Luckily I picked it up again and this time I couldn't put it down. I can't quite believe that this actually happened and that such a man existed! The story of Mary Eleanor Bowes' life was taken from her own personal journal, as well as documents from historical archives. Wendy Moore has painted a very detailed picture of what aristocratic life was like in Georgian times, and it makes for fascinating reading. ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This book wasn't what I expected it to be but still a good read! I loved mary eleanor and couldn't believe the traumas she went through. Very interesting!
Emmalg
An enthralling account of the marriage and divorce proceedings of the Queen Mother's great great great grandmother.
It is historically fascinating as well as being relatively easy to read. The content becomes more and more interesting as the history proceeds so although it may be initially cumbersome you soon get swept up by the events .
The acknowledgements made me feel exhausted as the research that went into this biography is astounding.
It has been written like a novel with each chapter gene
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Doris
This is an amazing book. The thorough, well researched, extremely well-written document not only of an 18th century aristocrat, Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore (ancestor of the late Queen Mum) but also of the period, especially from the point of view of women's rights of which there were almost none. It's hard to believe things were this bad for women, but they were. She was tricked into marriage by the most heinous villain I've ever seen described. If there is a hell, surely he is ro ...more
Jeanette
Another lengthy and researched work which pivots on some central questions of a woman's property rights and larger sense definition of personhood under the law during her 18th century life. Because of that, I was intrigued by our Countess's biographical story, and her own general answers to her predicaments. But it was nearly unreadable in form, IMHO. It jumped and it floated too. And always within a refraining mantra of "BUT IT ISN'T FAIR, so I'll buy a better lawyer!" type of hissy fit.

The wom
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Wendy Moore worked as a journalist and freelance writer for more than 25 years. She has always been interested in history, and as a result, began researching the history of medicine.

The Knife Man is her first book.
More about Wendy Moore...
The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate The Knife Man: The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery 'Sweet As' Contemporary Short Stories by New Zealanders

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