Why did shy Walter Parker show gross disrespect by refusing to doff his cap to a powerful man – the Duke of Bedford’s representative?
What effect did an alcoholic mother have on his choices?
What most shaped Walter: Victorian values, village life, co-dependency…or the inherited psychological legacies of his families past?
In this exploration of her Victorian grandfather, author Helen Parker-Drabble uses a psychosocial lens to ponder the inheritance of intergenerational loss, anxiety, trauma, alcoholism and the learnt co-dependent patterns of behaviour familiar to so many families.
Using interviews with Walter’s niece, school logs, family photographs, census records, newspapers and more, Helen, a former counsellor, turns geneatherapist. She investigates Walter’s family, Thorney village life, education, children’s risk of life-threatening illness and disabling disease and his work as an agricultural labourer on the 11th Duke of Bedford’s forgotten estate.
Can Helen unpick this Victorian ancestor’s heritage and uncover what drove 21-year-old Walter Parker to migrate to the Canadian Prairies in search of a better life?
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