Walking on Sunshine

Wendy Moore – Wedlock – 2010/050

The Back of the Book: Precocious and indulged, Mary Eleanor Bowes was the richest heiress in eighteenth-century Britain.  Scandalous rumours were quick to spread when she fell under the spell of a handsome Irish soldier, Andrew Robinson Stoney  When Mary heard that her gallant hero was mortally wounded in a duel fought to defend her honour, she felt she could hardly refuse his dying wish to marry her.

Yet within hours of the ceremony Stoney seemed to be in the grip of a miraculous recovery … and Mary found herself trapped in an appallingly brutal marriage.  She was terrorised by violence, humiliation, deception and kidnap, but the life of Mary Eleanor Bowes is a remarkable tale of triumph in the face of overwhelming betrayal.

NotJustLaura’s Review: Who’d have thought a biography could be so thrilling?  Ms Moore brings us the life of Mary Eleanor Bowes, an heiress who is duped into marrying and then finds herself shamefully abused.  Despite the legal and social mores of her day (this is the 18th century) Mary seeks legal redress – and wins!

I actually expected this book to be a ‘Did Not Finish’ due to the abusive nature of the Bowes marriage – I don’t read anything likely to give me nightmares.  On the contrary, however, I found Ms Moore’s writing carried me along through the good and bad times of Mary’s life.  While she does not shield the reader from the facts – and some of them are distasteful – Ms Moore scrupulously avoids the sensationalism that would have me closing a book unfinished.   Mary Bowes’ life is placed firmly in its historical context and Ms Moore also casts an eye to the future, explaining how matrimonial law has changed over the intervening centuries.  Her writing is detailed and exacting – and I enjoyed every moment!

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