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The Secret's of a British Hero's Daughter

Horatias Secret

Lily Style

Her father is a hero. Her mother is despised. Can she love them both without her family being destroyed?

Horatia Nelson Ward has a terrible secret. She is the illegitimate daughter of British hero Admiral Lord Nelson, while her mother is the despised Lady Hamilton. And if she claims her heritage to redeem herself, she'll ruin her children.

Her silence is tearing her apart. Concerned loved ones coax her to disclose. But a sixty-year-old promise of silence seems impossible to break.

Horatia's Secret is a compelling historical fiction novel. If you like rich period detail, tenacious heroines, and evocative dialogue, then you'll love Lily Style's epic journey into an overlooked past.
Read Horatia's Secret for an unprecedented glimpse into the lives of Nelson's family!

Book Excerpt or Article

She had been wandering the gardens listlessly, followed always by one of the old women, perhaps Grandma Cadogan, perhaps Auntie Connor; Horatia didn’t care whom. She was not in a minding mood. The atmosphere was oppressive. It was not because of the weather (for this was fine; a little windy, but bright). No, it was the feelings of the people around her, Lady Hamilton especially, who had taken to her bed some days before claiming a rash, although her heavy mood had spoken otherwise. Mrs Bolton was with her, or had been when Horatia had last gone to look, but she had not been able to bear the tension for long. The grown ups, not just Lady Hamilton; all of them, were pretending to be happy, but she knew they really weren’t, and so here she was, kicking her heels idly along the garden paths, heedless of the multi-coloured autumn leaves; the ducks on the water; and birds in the sky: numb to all; flattened by a melancholy she was powerless to lift, or even name. Then suddenly there was shouting, clattering wheels and thundering hooves. Horatia felt her hairs stand on end, intuitively knowing an ill-blown wind had come in. Finally there would be release from the stasis, but it would brook no reprieve.

Reliving that moment sixty-eight-years later, Horatia wondered how it could have been that her younger self, just four years of age, had possibly known. Perhaps, she mused, this memory was false; concocted from hearsay and later-learned facts? But she had such a strong sense of her child self’s certainty and dread. Perhaps, she reflected, we sometimes just know, and they all had just known. It is a misconstruction to assume knowledge enables explanation. Firstly, there is baffling knowledge of the type that defies explanation; secondly, there is the type of knowledge we are held by oath to withhold; and, thirdly, there is knowledge that could be explained, but can never be uttered even to one’s own self. Horatia was familiar with all three forms of inexplicable knowledge.

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Lily Style is the direct descendant of famed lovers Admiral Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton. A keen genealogist, her interest is in piecing together the real human stories lying behind dry facts. She writes regularly for Nelson-related publications. Horatia's Secret is her first historical novel.

Lily is also the creator and webmaster of Emma Hamilton Society, whose purpose is to provide positive and deserved press to Dame Emma Hamilton (her correct title is Dame as she was awarded the Maltese Cross). Dame Emma Hamilton has been unfairly maligned because of prevailing sexism and snobbery: she had unwedded relationships (but not promiscuously) and spoke with a common accent.

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