You see, my hero in this book, Sir Trevor Fitzwilliam, has had a rough upbringing. His father and mother weren’t married to each other. Being raised without a dad can be tough on any kid, but in the early nineteenth century in England it was particularly hard. Back then, the rules of primogeniture, as they were called, still held firm. That meant, in most cases, the oldest legitimate boy of the family inherited everything. No splitting down the middle, no shares for younger brothers, and nothing for girls.
Oh, there were certainly exceptions. Fathers and mothers could leave certain pieces of property or small bequests to their children in their wills. The only legitimate child who was a daughter might receive enough to be considered an heiress. But the bulk of all titles and lands went to that oldest son, of the first marriage. No father could play favorites (“I like your brother Parsimmon better, so he gets to be the earl.”) or disown a son he found less than respectable (“You don’t deserve to be earl, so I’m giving it to your cousin Englebert.”)
Sometimes fathers would at least acknowledge the son they’d had out of wedlock, giving the child money for schooling or helping him become a secretary to a rising politician or land steward, something gentlemanly even if he wasn’t exactly a gentleman. Fathers might also help daughters born out of wedlock make suitable marriages, offering a dowry or connections. Other times, fathers never let on they even knew the girl or boy, leaving the girls to fend for themselves and the lads wondering how they might become honorable gentlemen.
That’s the case with Sir Trevor. His father won’t publically admit that Trevor is his son. In fact, the father’s name is never mentioned in the book. But I’ve put in some clues as to who his father MIGHT be.
So, here’s the deal. The first person who correctly guesses the real-life historical figure who might be Trevor’s father, without giving away how she/he figured it out, will win an autographed copy. Just post the name in your comment. I’ll reveal all on Friday, when I’ll give you another chance to win. Here are your clues:
- Trevor’s last name is Fitzwilliam, which is not his father’s or mother’s last name.
- His father was a Navy captain at one time.
- His father is connected with the reigning family in 1815.
- His father had a tendency to fall in love with actresses, from an early age.
Let the guessing begin.