Continuing my analysis of the families of the characters in my books, we come to the Haydens. This is a very different bunch than the others I’ve written about. They are wealthier, more powerful, better connected, and—dare I admit it—less happy.
If have read any of my books you’ll have met the Marquess of Glenaire—later Duke of Sudbury—the loyal, caring, and maddeningly interfering friend/brother/uncle of the rest of my characters. He doesn’t display emotion easily—as a young man he was known as The Marble Marquess. He cares, he truly does, and yet he is never above manipulating people for their own good and good of the country. As his daughter Zambak lamented in The Unexpected Wife, England always comes first, at least it felt like it to her growing up. You can expect that he will have his thumb in the every book in my future series as well.
He did lose control, memorably, in Dangerous Weakness. He loves his duchess but he doesn’t remember his lapses fondly, and tends to be a distant father. What of his own family life? What of his children? The Hayden household is much more formal than the others to begin with. The children do not join the adults for dinner until they are old enough and skilled enough to engage in conversation with the constant stream of government officials, diplomats, and foreign ambassadors that make up their parents’ world. Hayden children are expected to do their duty, speak 4-5 languages, behave honorably, and be mindful of the obligations of their status. The pressure, particularly for the heir is great as readers of The Unexpected Wife will have learned. (Alas poor Thorn!) There are a number of younger sons, all named after English kings, and two daughters in addition to Zambak named after proper British flowers. Most of them have not yet appeared in my stories. I know them somewhat, and yet I wonder:
- Does privilege corrupt?
- What is it like to outrank your cousins and your friends as a young person?
- What is it like to have more wealth than your peers?
- When parents have a tempestuous relationship fraught with extremes of anger, hurt, passion, and love, what sort of ideas about marriage do children develop?
- When they are distant from their children, how do those children learn to form relationships?
- When does duty become fetters dragging you down?
- What happens when privileged young people are forced to look at the way the poor or otherwise disadvantaged live?
- When you grow up around power do you learn to use it wisely or succumb to the temptation to abuse it?
and of course
- What was going on around the world in the 1840s and how would their interests and talents lead them to be involved? And where will they be when they do it?
I continue to analyze all the families from my previous six novels and scattered novellas, examining them all individually and also the ways they interrelate with characters in the other families. Check out the previous two Monday posts for my musings on the Mallet and Landrum families. (See “Author’s Blog” on the right hand menu.)
I’ll be off to Historical Romance Retreat in a week to hobnob with my fellow wizards, and readers as well. We get to wear costumes and have big fun. I will continue to mull my next series while I’m gone, and I hope my thoughts will have gelled somewhat when i get back so that I can let you know whose stories come next. Watch for announcements in Caroline Warfield’s Fellow Travelers on Facebook. Before I go, there is packing and planning. Even before that the Bluestocking Belles (myself included of course) are celebrating their 2018 holiday box set with a party, prizes, and fun. You can join us on September 8 from 2 to 8 Eastern Time.
In between, I’m writing a novella for a 2019 box set. It’s all good. But first, coffee.