Good Wives

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Random House, Jul 31, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
2 Reviews

What is a 'good wife'? The bestselling author of Hidden Lives explores four marriages, including her own, in different times and societies to find the answer.

In 1848 Mary Moffatt became the wife of the missionary and explorer David Livingstone - and her obedience and devotion eventually killed her. In 1960, Margaret Forster married her school sweetheart Hunter Davies in a London Registry Office - and interpreted the role very differently. Between these two marriages is a huge gulf in which the notion of marriage changed immeasurably.

Forster traces the shift in emphasis from submission to partnership, first through the marriage of one unconventional American, Fanny Osbourne, to Robert Louis Stevenson, in the late nineteenth century; and then through that of Jennie Lee to Aneurin Bevan in the 1930s.

Why does a woman still want to be a wife in the twenty-first century? What is the value of marriage today? Why do couples still marry in church? These are some of the questions Forster asks as she weaves the personal experience of forty years through the stories of three wives who have long fascinated her.

 

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User Review  - pinkmouse - LibraryThing

A brilliant insight into the changing lives of women. I read this with my mum and we both laughed at the huge differences both between the four women's lives and our lives and theirs. My favourite ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Daisydaisydaisy - LibraryThing

She examines the lives as wives of Mary Livingtone (wife of David), Fanny Stevenson (wife of Robert Louis) and Jennie Lee (wife of Aneurin Bevan), and compares it with her own in the late twentieth ... Read full review

Contents

PART ONE II
11
Reflections
95
PART Two III
111
Reflections
197
PART THREE 2 09
2-9
86
2-86
Epilogue
313
Notes 373
325
Index
335
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About the author (2012)

Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want? , Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs – Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses – and biographies. She was married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lived in London and the Lake District. She died in February 2016, just before her last novel, How to Measure a Cow, was published.