To paraphrase Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a good fortune is in need of a husband. Historically, marriage was virtually the only career open to the aspiring female. Even the plainest Jane gained allure if it was known that she was an heiress. However, inherited wealth brought its own problems. How could any girl be sure that it was her personal qualities, rather than her fortune, fuelling the ardour of potential spouses?
In this witty, wide-ranging and intelligent social history, Laura Thompson explores the changing experiences of moneyed women between the 17th and 21st centuries. Some deployed their fortunes to achieve bold, independent lives, often to the miffed disapproval of wider society. Others fell for rotters who were determined to mine the millions from their quarries. Weighing romance against finance was a life-changing decision, especially when divorce was all but impossible.
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