Courtney Milan is working on a presentation for the Beau Monde conference, which happens Wednesday 30 July, conveniently out in SF. It’s a mini-con, she says, and her workshop is all about wills, and what they can and cannot do. For example, she says, “they can’t condition the money given on marrying a particular person. Or a slew of other things, ranging from “no violating the Rule Against Perpetuities” (please don’t make me explain that one—it basically means, don’t give stuff to people who aren’t, and might not be, born, but it’s more complicated than that in ways that take ages to explain) to “you have to let people do *something* with your stuff, eventually.”
Problem is, Ms. Milan needs books what deal with wills as a plot device.
One of the things I want to end with is a dissection of Actual Wills in Actual Historical Romances. I know I have read this particular trope about ten zillion times, but when push comes to shove, I never remember names and I cannot remember a single book in which it actually comes into play. Worst of all, my vast stores of historical novel are all packed in boxes and in another state, due to an impending move. If possible, I would like to impose on the Bitchery for the following.
There may be a large number of answers here, rather than just one book, but here is what I am looking for:
1. Must be set in England before 1873. And no, Scotland doesn’t count—Scotland had separate courts of equity and different rules applied.
2. The heroine must marry the hero because a will specifies that the two must marry. It doesn’t matter whose will, or who will lose the money (either the hero or the heroine). The important thing is that the will must say, “You, Jane Heroine, will receive 10,000 pounds, but only if you marry John Hero.”
3. Ideally, the relevant language of the will should be in the text of the book, but this is not necessary.
So, anyone got any ideas to make this presentation super-duper funky punchy? And if we get really, really good answers in this thread, can we sit in? I promise not to heckle!!