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Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Plot and Wedlock

No, not another conspiracy theory but the title of a book by Madeleine Bunting. It is the history of an acre of land her family owns in Yorkshire not far from Scotch Corner. She has woven together thoughts about her father and his life and the history of this acre of moorland. I liked the concept but so far - about 120 pages - the execution seems not quite right. It is a beautifully produced book though I could have done with a few more pictures.

One of the other books I'm reading is Wedlock; How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met his Match by Wendy Moore. It's about Mary Eleanor Bowes who married first of all the Earl of Strathmore and secondly an Irish soldier - who is the worst husband of the title. It was this lady who provided the Bowes half of the Queen Mother's maiden name - Bowes Lyon. So far it is fascinating reading. Mary Eleanor was far better educated than many women of her day and found herself to a certain extent a fish out of water. There were other highly educated women around at the time - such as Mary Wortley Montague - though they were regarded as eccentric and not to be emulated. This is a well written book which brings the 18th century vividly to life.

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