Before the Married Women's Property Act, women in the UK had no legal status, if married. Any property a woman brought to a married became her husband's after the marriage ceremony.

Children were also property--and they belonged to the husband. Repeatedly we find stories of wife sent away with no ability to see their children, if it is denied by their husbands. We find Rosina Bulwer-Lytton in a real life example or in a fictional one the main character in Mary Wollstonecraft's unfinished novel, Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman.

In Jilting the Duke, then, Sophia Gardiner, Lady Wilmot, is in a precarious position. If her late husband Tom had wanted to, he could have "willed" their son entirely into the care of a male guardian. And if she appears to be unfit as a guardian, one of her male relations (or the child's) could petition to have the care of her son taken from her. This is the threat Phineas--her unappealing brother--makes: to take her child--and with it her child's fortune.

But luckily Tom had other things in mind for Sophia--and her co-guardian Aidan Somerville, Lord Forster.

To read a discussion of the guardianship, check out the extract available from http://jensreadingobsession.blogspot....

You'll also find a drawing for a free copy of Jilting the Duke.

If you have questions, please let me know. I love to talk to readers.
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Published on February 04, 2016 09:41 • 39 views

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