Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match, By Wendy Moore

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The Independent Culture

Wealth and privilege proves no protection when it comes to ill-advised liaisons, and Mary Eleanor Bowes (the great-great-great-grandmother of the late Queen Mother) nearly paid for her poor choice in men with her life.

Born in 1749, this highly educated heiress had her pick of future husbands, but fell for the syphilitic ninth earl of Strathmore, with whom she had five children.

After his death, and pregnant with another man's child, she was tricked into marriage with a brutal Irish adventurer. Mary was to suffer years of abuse at his hands.

Fearing for her life she went to court, eventually winning a divorce. This lurid tale of high-society sadism grips from the first page.

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