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Two wives, one husband

In Too Deep by Samantha Hayes Arrow 416pp Available at Asia Books and leading bookshops 350 baht

For multi-millennia, marriage has been about possession. Hands of he/she belong to me. To be sure, in most societies the husband got the best of it as the wife's belongings became his. Why else wed? Well-to-do widows, with both her and her late spouse's goods in her hands, were the prize catch.

Love was reserved for his mistress and her lover. Love entered arranged marriages later, if at all. In time, there was a pendulum swing favouring wives. Wives divorced their husbands on grounds of infidelity and were awarded alimony. The reverse happened as well, albeit to a lesser extent.

Having a mistress is one thing, bigamy quite another. In bigamy, there are two nuptials, with neither wife aware of the other. He uses different names, raises the families separately. Wives aren't above doing the same. A crime in parts of the world, a common practice in other parts.

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