Born to fanatically snobbish Victorian parents, Georgina Weldon grew up to wreak havoc on almost everyone she met. She was supposed to marry well and restore the family fortune, but soon proved to have other ideas. Her scandalous affair with a married man and her defiant marriage to the less-than-prosperous young hussar officer Harry Weldon were just the first signs that she was no ordinary girl. In a plot that could have been constructed by Dickens himself, Georgina acquired a string of lovers, was stung by con artists, betrayed by her parents, and narrowly escaped being committed to a mental institution. She rose to the challenge and became one of the first Victorian women to represent herself in court and later helped to overturn England’s infamous Lunacy Laws. Like the best Victorian novels, The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon marries the adventures of an intrepid protagonist with delightfully revealing glimpses of Victorian society. A tale of sex and scandal, bravado and bravery, Mrs. Weldon’s life is wild, wicked, and totally irresistible.
Born on Princess Victoria's birthday in 1837, Georgina Treherne Weldon lived her life with the conviction that she was destined to be one of the great figures of the age; she did, in fact, achieve a kind of celebrity, although not for the reasons she had initially imagined. Instead, she eloped with a near-penniless army officer and found herself alienated from her family for the rest of her life. From that point on, her story is so fantastically melodramatic that it might have been penned by one of the sensationalist novelists so popular among her Victorian contemporaries. Described as having a kind of maniacal energy, and fueled by delusions of grandeur, she more or less shoved her husband into a prominent career, parlayed her pleasant singing voice into a position as a minor musical celebrity, befriended and was widely believed to be having an affair with the famous French composer Gounod, turned her home into an orphanage and singing school, ran off to France with a female lover, was sued for libel and imprisoned at Newgate, barely escaped being locked up as a lunatic by her husband and finally retired to a nunnery to write her memoirs. What earned her the most fame were her more than 100 lawsuits, in which, by going after her detractors with a kind of monomaniacal vengeance, she brought to light a number of the inequities in British law, particularly as it pertained to married women and lunatics. Replete with endless psychodramas, hers is indeed a fascinating story, and although novelist Thompson's telling of it is perhaps more muted in tone than it deserves, his portrait of Weldon is both well-rounded and evenhanded.