The True Story of the Disastrous Marriage and Remarkable Divorce of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore
By Wendy Moore
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780307383372, 400pp.)
Publication Date: February 9, 2010
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Captain Andrew Robinson Stoney insisted on defending her honor in a duel, and Mary was convinced she had found true love. Judged by doctors to have been mortally wounded in the melee, Stoney persuaded Mary to grant his dying wish; four days later they were married.
Sadly, the "captain" was not what he seemed. Staging a sudden and remarkable recovery, Stoney was revealed as a debt-ridden lieutenant, a fraudster, and a bully. Immediately taking control of Mary's vast fortune, he squandered her wealth and embarked on a campaign of appalling violence and cruelty against his new bride. Finally, fearing for her life, Mary masterminded an audacious escape and challenged social conventions of the day by launching a suit for divorce. The English public was horrified-and enthralled. But Mary's troubles were far from over . . .
Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was inspired by Stoney's villainy to write "The Luck of Barry Lyndon, " which Stanley Kubrick turned into an Oscar-winning film. Based on exhaustive archival research, "Wedlock" is a thrilling and cinematic true story, ripped from the headlines of eighteenth-century England.
"From the Hardcover edition.