The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells is a novel with dual intertwining timelines. The modern strand involves Australian lawyer Liz Jones who, under the pretence of writing a novel about the 18th century Lady Nash, goes to the Isle of Wight to discretely investigate her employer’s claim to descent from Delaney Nash. As she delves into the history of the Nash family, Liz’s loyalties slip and she becomes involved in the fight of the current Lord Nash to make his estate a paying concern. The 18th century strand follows Delaney Nash from her marriage to Lord Nash to a court case brought by Lord Nash against his brother for an alleged affair with Delaney. Delaney’s story vividly brings to life the abysmal position of married women of all classes in the 18th century. Delaney, in particular, emerges as an appealing and resourceful woman. The prose is fluid and unobtrusive for the most part, with the occasional flourish. An enthralling and thoroughly enjoyable weekend read.
A detailed review can be found here.
Wedlock by Wendy Moore is also worth reading to discover more about the lack of legal redress even aristocratic women endured in the most appalling marriages. This non-fiction work examines the marriage of Mary Eleanor Bowes, Lady Strathmore.