To be addressed in letters as: The Honourable Miss Sophia Willowbrooke
Sophia is a petite young woman with dark brown hair, fair skin, and green-gray eyes. She has a round, young face with cherubic cheeks and a pleasant smile and wears clothing that is current and fashionable, but fairly demure.
Lt. Comm. Amelia Rosemont - Childhood Friend
All connections wanted! Were you a childhood playmate? A fellow student in Paris? A friend of her parents? Or perhaps you had dealings with uncle's business? Or maybe you're just excited to take a naive newcomer under your wing to guide her? Or maybe even try to lead her astray?
I'm pretty much open to anything!
Sophia WIllowbrooke is the daughter of Lord Gabriel Willowbrooke, Baron of Brookeshire, and his wife, Lady Beatrice Willowbrooke (nee Chancington). The Lord and Lady Brookshire were a love marriage, the Lord being the last known heir to a dying barony and the Lady being from a nouveau riche family who made their fortune off of the import/export trade, mostly dealing in wines, textiles, and luxury goods. They lived on a comfortable annual sum; surely not one of opulent wealth, but enough that their servants were paid in a timely manner and to throw an occasional country ball. Perhaps Sophia could not order the most fashionable dresses from Parisian boutiques, but she was never bereft of a modest fashionable gown for any special occasion.
Sophia’s childhood was happy, but largely unremarkable. She was a pleasant, well-behaved child who got into little mischief other than sneaking into the kitchens to watch the chef make scones or sneaking home some injured animal or another to nurse back to health. She loved to ride on her family’s country estate and often wandered the gardens, taking in the scents of the flowers and herbs with wonder. However, there were very few children of her age in the area, especially those of any gentle standing.
Anxious to prepare her for her future as a member of the aristocracy, Sophia’s parents sent her to a highly regarded ladies’ finishing school in France, L’ecole de Femmes de Florette. There, Sophia eagerly applied herself to her studies, learning etiquette, languages, and art. She learned to speak French and German fluently, and showed herself to be proficient in watercolor and needlework. She even showed a talent for music, taking well to the piano and, on very rare occasions for the shy girl, revealing a lovely singing voice.
Though somewhat quiet by nature, she was surrounded by friendly girls who appreciated Sophia’s patience and compassion. Though Sophia thought she would never adjust to life away from Willowbrooke, she began to find herself thriving in her new surroundings.
However, a year later, tragedy struck. Sophia’s parents, returning from the opera to their small London abode, perished when their carriage turned after the horse pulling it spooked suddenly. When the news reached Sophia, she was devastated. She had just barely adjusted to being away from her home, but she would never be able to adjust to the absence of her beloved parents.
Being their sole child, Sophia was to inherit the entirety of their possessions and estate. However, as she was merely 16 at the time, the inheritance was to be held by a trustee at the bank until such time as she turned 21 or married, whichever occurred first. Her guardianship was passed to her mother's brother, Victor Chancington. Sophia was officially moved to their manor, as it was deemed inappropriate to let such a young girl stay in the estate all alone. Aside from her uncle, the Chancington manor also housed her uncle’s wife, Mary; their 25 year old son, Malcolm; and Sophia’s maternal grandmother, Lydia. Her uncle’s family treated her fairly, if with little affection. They always seemed genial on the surface, but Sophia felt she could detect some bitterness that the Willowbrooke estate was dictated to be under trustee control rather than his own. The exception was her grandmother who took great joy in doting on her when she could.
After a period of mourning, Sophia chose to return to her finishing school in Paris, as she felt more comfortable with the girls there than in her uncle's home.
Sophia remained in Paris until the age of 21, when she returned to Brookeshire to claim her inheritance. She took some time to put the estate’s affairs in order and to settle into the responsibilities of its management, with great help from the estate’s long time Steward and family friend, Mr. Johnathan Silver. She stayed on the Willowbrooke estate for a full year before starting to feel somewhat despondent in her loneliness. She had always been a quiet girl, yes, but she enjoyed the company of others nonetheless. She missed the social gatherings and friendships of her time in Paris.
Mr. Silver, seeing her loneliness, suggested that someone of her youth might be better suited to spend some time in London, where the social scene was more active. He hinted that it would be a good place to perhaps find a proper suitor as well, as he was sure her parents would want her to find a love as fine as their own.
Agreeing, Sophia packed up her belongings with her maid, Penelope “Poppy” Shaw, and moved residences to her parents’ townhome in London, nervous, but excited for this new chapter of her life.