Who Do I Think You Were? A Victorian’s Inheritance - A Victorian's Inheritance by author Helen Parker-Drabble

Walter Parker was a working-class boy who grew up in the model agricultural village of Thorney, Cambridgeshire, owned by the 11th Duke of Bedford. Aged just 21 years, Walter escaped a toxic emotional inheritance to make something of himself in the New World. His is a story of toil, resilience, and perseverance.

In this first volume of Who Do I Think You Were? family historian and counsellor Helen Parker-Drabble, uses genealogy, social history, and psychological theory to deepen her understanding of the early life of her grandfather.

In A Victorian Inheritance, Helen demonstrates how personality traits, reactions and patterns of behaviour can be passed down the generations. She reveals how environment and life experiences can trigger life-changing mechanisms in our genes. The result is a fascinating exploration of a Victorian’s inheritance.

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In the research phase:

Book 2: Who Do I Think You Were? A Victorian Migrates

Walter migrates to Canada escaping an alcoholic mother, a co-dependent family and an English village owned by the Duke of Bedford. Walter works to build enough capital so he can prove a homestead under The Dominion Lands Act 1872. Can bachelor Walter defy convention and become a landowner? The book examines migrant personality traits and the psychological price paid by homesteaders. What impact will WW1 have on those settled on the prairies? How can Walter survive the flu epidemic and the Great Depression? Will Walter find a way to thrive against the odds?

Book 3: Who Do I Think You Were? A Victorian’s Legacy

Fresh from the freedom of the prairies, Walter returns to England and finds a biting recession and high unemployment. In his rural childhood home of Thorney, he courts Hilda, an aging spinster, and searches for work and accommodation so they can marry. The couple set up home in the smog-filled industrial centre of Sheffield, where gang wars have resulted in police brutality and corruption. Believing his marriage came too late for him to be a father, Walter is astounded when his wife becomes pregnant. When WW2 starts, their daughter is a toddler. Walter signs up for the heavy rescue squad. Bombs fall yards from their home. Post-war, Walter, essentially a Victorian father, struggles to raise his daughter in the modern age. The book ends with the author evaluating Walter’s psychological inheritance and legacy.

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