Beautiful, talented and flirtatious, Caroline Sheridan married dull George Norton in 1827.
It was a terrible mismatch and he was a violent brute. Manipulated by his brother, Norton sued the then Prime Minister, Viscount Melbourne, for criminal conversation (adultery) with his wife. Despite overwhelming evidence Norton lost the case, but the chief victim in this was Caroline - unable to seek a divorce herself, penniless, denied access to her children and ostracised by society. Over the next 20 years she used her pen and connections to fight for justice. Her Infant Custody Act is the first feminist law and her lobbying led to the Matrimonial Causes and Married Women’s Property Acts which gave women a legal identity. A fascinating read about a lively and intelligent woman who despite personal tragedy changed society, for fans of Kate Summerscale's Mrs Robinson's Disgrace.