"Mrs Caroline Norton"
Caroline Norton, painted by Frank Stone
Public DomainCaroline Norton, painted by Frank Stone

As Fowles describes, Caroline Norton (1808-1877) was far from insipid.  A famous society beauty in her youth, Caroline married a man who became an abusive husband.  His behaviour after their separation (which included taking her earnings from writing and refusing to allow her to see her children) inspired her campaigns for social reform, particularly women's rights.

A complete fascimile of The Lady of La Garaye can be found at Google Books.