Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Five best books on betrayals of love

Tessa Hadley is the author of The Master Bedroom, Sunstroke and Other Stories, Everything Will Be All Right, Accidents in the Home, and The London Train.

For the Wall Street Journal she named her five best books on betrayals of love.

One title on the list:
Broken Lives
by Lawrence Stone (1993)

This book of case studies accompanies Lawrence Stone's magisterial history, "Road to Divorce: England, 1530-1987." Until the early 19th century, all divorces were transacted in the ecclesiastical courts, where witness statements were taken down verbatim, in private. The resulting material is a vivid and poignant record of the sorrows and adulteries of England's upper and middle classes. Servants were bribed not to tell about the stains on the bed linen. Thomas Turst beat his wife and kept her a naked prisoner in the attic. The Duchess of Beaufort dared not take her lover into her bed, so they -coupled clumsily on chairs in the dining room or in the bushes outdoors. Emily Westmeath, cut off from her children after her adultery, broke into her daughter's dancing lesson; the girl announced that she knew what kind of woman her mother was and never wanted to see her face again. These are enthralling, sometimes heart-rending, glimpses into the history of private lives.
Read about the other titles on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue