This blog will sort most of the truth from the fiction in my short story Pursuing Prayer. If you haven't read it yet, all you have to do is sign up to my blog here Free Short Story | Dienece Darling and you'll receive a welcome email with the link to your free short story!
The Lucas Family are completely fictional. However, Parham House is a real place. I found the estate in a little book outlining houses one should visit when they go to England. I fell in love with the majestic look of the place, and it was roughly near the area I'd decided my fictional Lucas family would live. Even better, Parham has a great Facebook page and interactive website!
Clink the link below if you'd like to take a visit to Parham through the web.
As you can see in this photo by Mark on Flickr, there really is a dove cote at Parham! Sorry I couldn't get you a closer look at it due to licencing restrictions on other photos, but it was built and actively in use during the 1700s according to the Parham's website and other resources I found.
Could Catherine really walk home from church?
Well, here is a photo showing how close the church is to the main house! As you can see, the Foxes could have easily walked to church, but Henry was all about appearances. ;)
Louise Marie Madeleine Fontaine 1706-1799.
Who was the lady on the cover? Her real name was Louise Marie Madeleine Fontaine, and she lived from 1706-1799. The painting was created roughly between 1730 or 1745 (sources vary).
Louise was French. If you aren't a history buff, she lived through the French Revolution. And yes, despite being titled and wealthy, she escaped the blood bath of the time.
She was known as the only sister of three to be free from censure over her conduct. She was a renowned beauty with an even greater mind.
Madam Dupin, as she was called after her marriage, championed better education for women and spoke passionately about it. She was quite the feminists, but she didn't take it to the streets like the ones we hear about who were thrown into prison. She fought her battles indoors through spirited debates with the men who came to her fashionable salon parties.
Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland
m. Lady Caroline Lennox in 1744
Since Henry Fox was twenty years older than his actual wife, Lady Caroline, I decided to give him a fictitious first wife (because he had time to marry someone else first!). Although, thepeerage.com said Lady Caroline was actually his second wife, and a Penelope Dyve was his first. Whatever the case, he did NOT marry a lady called Catherine Lucas because she's fictional, as I already mentioned.
Henry Fox was run out of England as a young man for his debts. In real life, he managed to snag himself a rich patroness to get him back in a few years later. I decided to have him marry an heiress instead.
Henry's brother was recorded as having gone to Italy during the years Charles was kicked out of the country, so I made a guess Henry might have gone there too.
What about Catherine fearing her husband would legally siphon all of her little brother's inheritance? Well, that's based on fact!
Henry stole a bundle of money from the government when he was in politics and was forced to resign his position. The charges were dropped as they could not find anything legally wrong about his very unethical habit of siphoning millions from the government. It still seems weird to me that they could be sure he had stollen money, but that he'd done so legally. Talk about finding a huge loophole!
Henry might have been renown as cunning and unscrupulous. He might have run off with the daughter of a duke twenty years his junior, but it was well documented how much he loved his wife, even though she was made a baroness almost a whole year before he was offered the title of baron! Personally, I would have thought that would burn for the ambition Henry, but it didn't seem to bother their marriage.
Furthermore, keeping mistresses was rampant during this period. One need only read about a few notable people during this period to see the lists of their known mistresses. Oddly, after all the excesses and unethical practices by Lord Holland, I was surprised to find no recorded mistresses in the places I researched. Granted that might be a bit of a stretch to say he had none at all, but his brother is documented as having given up his affairs when he wed. I like to think that Henry might have too.
And that is the end of the truth found in my fictional story.
Photo 1. The front of Parham House is free to use and share with attribution to Rictor Norton & David Allen | Flickr. Copyright license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Photo 2. The dove cote at Parham House falls under the Copyright license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), attribution accredited to Mark | Flickr.
Photo 3. Ariel view of Parham house and church. According to the copyright license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), I may adapt this photo for even commercial use with attribution for the original given to Phillip Capper | Flickr.
Photo 4. The photo of Louise Marie Madeleine Fountaine is public domain. File:Louise Marie Madeleine Fontaine 1706-1799.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Photo 5. Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland. I could not find the license for this photo. It was used on Henry Fox, Baron Holland : London Remembers, Aiming to capture all memorials in London and credited to Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley 2 (thepeerage.com). The peerage did not list any sources or licenses for the photo.