“You don’t know the law, my clever little cousin. If they commit you to an asylum, you are disinherited at once. Did you not know that, my dear? If you go on with your seeings and your dreamings, you will lose everything.”
The second part in Wideacre’s sprawling historical epic follows the two Lacey heirs, Richard and Julia. As the competition to gain control of the land and the love of the people who work it grows more intense, Julia discovers that it is tragedy, not power, which is the true Lacey inheritance.
All the characters in The Favoured Child are either wilfully evil or idealistic to the point of being self-destructive. The heroine, Julia, begins pretty meek and timid (as you would be if you’d spent your childhood being harassed by your cousin/brother). As she is brought into society, Julia’s confidence grows, and she becomes torn between the conventional world of her upbringing and her almost mystical connection to the land. It’s an interesting, if well-worn, exploration of the narrowly defined roles which women of that era were expected to subscribe to.