Victoria Dahl’s OWAL: The Winners

Oops! Bad blogger.  I completely forgot I hadn’t chosen the winner. says…. the winner is RachieG!  Congratulations, Rachie!  Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will get this right out to you.

Courtney Milan writes historical romances, which might lead people to think that she could be cool. In reality, she's about four different kinds of geeky. At present, this blog is where Courtney applies semi-dormant geek skills to publishing.

2 thoughts on “Victoria Dahl’s OWAL: The Winners

  1. Hi.

    I don’t know if you’ll know this, as this is isn’t your book, but you’ve mentioned it, and I’m really curious about something.

    In Victorian England, if there are three sisters living alone, and the middle girl gets married, does her husband automatically become the head of the household, even if the father is alive and just living somewhere else?

    And the other thing. I have tried looking this up online, but everything I’ve read on the matter has confused the heck out of me. It’s about the rules of naming the peerage.

    How does the peerage get its names? I read that sons of the peerage take on their father’s lowest ranking title, and it sort of makes sense. But not really.

    For example, in Bound by your Touch, why isn’t James Viscount of Mooreland, and why is his last name neither Sanburne nor Mooreland?

    I’m just trying to understand. Can you help me?


  2. Britney,

    Sorry I didn’t answer before now. I somehow missed it.

    As for one–no, the husband of the middle girl doesn’t automatically become the head of the household. He might actually become the de facto head of household, just because people have a tendency in Victorian times to respect men more than women, and women tended to defer to men. Also, he might consider it a “duty” to tend to her sisters. But head-of-household duties were rarely automatic except as to the wife and children.

    As for peerage names… There’s a great site discussing titles for nobility here:
    (check out all the linked pages, especially “correct forms of address.)

    The title gets its name from the actual estate. Nobility is about being in charge of land in England. So if you are Duke of OverTheRainbow, that means that somewhere, there is a duchy of OverTheRainbow–an actual piece of land, called “OverTheRainbow,” and the Duke is in charge of that land.

    This means that if James is “Viscount of Mooreland,” he is charge of the viscounty that is known as Mooreland.

    In the vast majority of cases, the land’s name is not derived from its Lord (or vice versa).

    That is, the duchy of OverTheRainbow was a lovely piece of land, and one day, the King said to his very good friend, Mr. Alan Spencer, “Alan, you’ve been awesome. Now I am going to let you take charge of the duchy of OverTheRainbow. From here on out, you’re going to be duke of OverTheRainbow.” This doesn’t change Alan’s last name. Alan is still Alan Spencer. In fact, it doesn’t change his name at all–it changes his title.

    It’s just like, if you get an MD, people might start calling you “Doctor” but that doesn’t change your first name. It just changes your title.

    So: in English Nobility, the title comes from the land. The name comes from the family.

    There are a few instances where the title stemming from the land and the name are the same, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

    And to make it even more confusing, Barons and Viscounts typically don’t have territorial titles.

    So: James’s father is the Earl of Moreland, because he is Earl over the land of Moreland. But his father also has several other estates that he is in charge of, and by courtesy, his heir apparent takes the highest-ranking title that his father is entitled to, which happens to be related to the viscounty. And Viscounts don’t (for some reason I do not understand) have rules associated with it, so he becomes “Viscount Sanburne” not “Viscount of Sanburne.”

    This is not something that lends itself to easy understanding. That is why just about every author of historical romance consults this chart, about a billion times per book:

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