Good Wives?: Mary, Fanny, Jennie and Me, 1845-2001

Good Wives?: Mary, Fanny, Jennie and Me, 1845-2001

by Margaret Forster


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An irresistible blend of history and memoir.

Through the lives and marriages of four extraordinary women, Forster explores what it means to be a ‘good wife’, and how that definition has changed. Covering the period from 1848 to the present, she discovers that despite the tremendous transformation in women’s lives, and the evolution of marriage, some aspects and attitudes remain fixed and immutable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780099283775
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/10/2002
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Margaret Forster is the author of best-selling memoirs, Hidden Lives and Precious Lives, acclaimed biographies of Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and of many successful novels, most recently The Memory Box.

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Good Wives?: Mary, Fanny, Jennie and Me, 1845-2001 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
pinkmouse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 biography was of Mary livingston who had many a disadvantage in the way she looked and her lack of guidance in herself but who strode through so many terrible situations that one can only admire her. A little history of the situations which women faced which is more of a story than a history. Great for all readers but i have to say i enjoyed it most because i read it with my mum.
Daisydaisydaisy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 century. I found the tone a little frustrating at times (she gets quite sniffy about the way Mary Livingstone won't stand up to David at all, yet that would have been the norm during that period of history). I came away with a feeling of overwhelming relief that I was born now, rather than 150 odd years ago! What was interesting was the detail provided of the women's lives. All three were very different, Mary was born in Africa and felt most comfortable there (she accompanied David on many of his expeditions), whilst Fanny would have been quite notorious for her time, as she was divorced. They obviously led lives very very different to those of most women of their age and class as they travelled an enormous amount. Jennie was also a pioneer, one of the very early female MPs, who didn't want to marry at all, but ended up married to Bevan as the Health Service was brought into being.