Bess: A Novel
Strong-willed, precocious Bess Tanfield of Burford masters several languages and, encouraged by her governess, Emma, writes original dramas and poetry at a very young age. Despite her extraordinary talents, Bess follows tradition and enters into an arranged marriage at seventeen. While her husband, Sir Henry Cary, is abroad on a diplomatic mission, Bess is sent to live with her malicious, controlling mother-in-law who holds her prisoner, depriving the young bride of her treasured books and writing materials. With the help of her faithful servants, Bess secretly contacts Henry who returns to England and rescues her.
As mistress of her own manor, Bess continues to pursue her cultural interests while leading an otherwise conventional life as a devoted wife and loving mother of nine children--until she makes a controversial, life-changing decision, shocking her family and infuriating her husband. As a result, he files for separation, leaving her impoverished. Eventually a bitter custody battle forces Bess to devise an ingenious plan to kidnap her own children.
Can her strong will and determination prevail? Will she have the courage to follow through with her plan? Or will she give in and reverse her decision?