I don’t read much non fiction.. I nearly wrote “enough” there but I am not sure I want to be that self-judgemental. I do read newspapers a lot and on the whole I think they do count as non-fiction. However this was a often fascinating tale of an eighteenth century heiress Mary Eleanor Bowes who despite academic brilliance made very unwise choices in her romantic life, marrying first the Earl of Strathmore before being widowed young and tricked into marriage with an Irish adventurer, Andrew Robinson Stoney.
Moore has obviously researched the story meticulously, possibly almost too much so for the general reader when the multidute of detail can slow down the story however it does bring home just how vulnerable women were until quite recently, even intelligent, rich powerful women were pretty much the property of their male “trustees”, in Mary Eleanor’s story it is chastening to see how much more effort is put into protecting the heiress’ assets rather than her person.. also a reminder that the Victorians reinvented morality!