A Victorian working-class youth. An alcoholic mother. A toxic psychological inheritance. A story about resilience in the closed agricultural village of Thorney, property of the Duke of Bedford.
Why did shy Walter Parker risk the loss of his Pa’s job and the family home when he refused to doff his cap to the most powerful man in his village, the Duke of Bedford’s representative?
How did Walter’s youth shape him? What affected him most: Victorian values, village life, an alcoholic mother, co-dependency – or the inherited psychological legacies of his ancestors?
Author Helen Parker-Drabble offers an example of family history writing and shows how family historians can unpick their ancestors’ psychological inheritance and shine a light on unhealthy behavioural and emotional cycles, now and for future generations.
Using interviews with Walter’s niece, school logs, family photographs, census records, newspapers and more, the author, a former counsellor, turns geneatherapist. She investigates Walter’s working-class family, education, the peril of disease, agricultural work and Thorney village life on the 11th Duke of Bedford’s forgotten estate. During her investigation, a psychological inheritance unravels, revealing intergenerational anxiety, trauma, loss, alcoholism, depression and the learnt co-dependent patterns of behaviour familiar to so many families.
Can Walter escape his inheritance and make a new life for himself? And more importantly, can his descendants?
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