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A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Her Father's Name

Author and Title: Florence Marryat. Her Father's Name: A Novel

First Edition: London: Tinsley Brothers, 1876. 3 volumes, cr. 8vo, 31s. 6d.


Summary: The beautiful and free-spirited Leona lives with her widowed father M. Lacoste in the wilds of Brazil. The devious Portuguese Ribeiro discovers Lacoste's secret: that he is the Englishman George Evans, an accused murderer and exile from his native land. Ribeiro uses the secret to blackmail Lacoste into giving his daughter in marriage. Rather than relent, Lacoste commits suicide, leaving a letter to his daughter explaining his past and asserting his innocence. Leona swears to clear her father's name. She follows her friend (and lover) Christobal Valera, a Spanish gentleman, to New York to both flee Ribeiro and to make her way in the world. A born actress, she disguises herself as a man named Leon d'Acosta on the steamship which Christobal discovers. In New York, Leona goes on stage and finds success as an actress. There, she discovers her uncle, Henry Evans, still owns a large business in Liverpool and London, which, coincidently, Christobal has business. Taking advantage of his bout with typhoid fever, Leona takes his letter of introduction to Evans and disguises herself as Christobal. In London, she lives as a guest of the Evans's family: her rich uncle, her naive aunt, and their invalid daughter Lucilla ("Lucy"). As a man, she attracts the romantic interest of the many women, including Lucy who assumes the disguised Leona plans to propose. When Christobal comes to London, Leona leaves the household and takes a new disguise as the middle-aged Miss Jane Gibson. Through her detective work, Leona pieces together the past. Her father George fell in love with the clerk Richard Levitt's daughter Rebecca and they had a child. Until they could afford to marry, the head clerk Anson adopted the child. Three years later, during a meeting between Richard Levitt, George Evans, and Anson about the intended marriage, Levitt accidently kills Anson, frames the drunk George Evans, and places him on a boat to America. Under pain of hanging at home, George goes to Brazil and assumes a new name. Meantime, Henry Evans, George's brother, inherits the business and adopts the child as his own, Lucy Evans. Armed with the deathbed confession of Richard Levitt procured from the dying Rebecca, Leona clears her father's name, inherits his fortune, and marries the patient Christobal. (TJB)

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References: Bodleian; EC