Viewpoint Characters in The Poor Relation

Posted on 25th April, 2019
Thank you to everybody who has sent such kind messages commenting on the cover of The Poor Relation. I love it. As well as being very attractive, I think it is an appropriate illustration in that the girl isn't looking directly out of the picture but is glancing away, as if hiding her thoughts, which is what Mary Maitland has to do much of the time in the story.


In my previous blog, I introduced the social background to the book. This week, I'd like to tell you about the viewpoint characters. Many authors write from a single viewpoint, but I like to tell my stories through several viewpoints. I think this adds richness to the telling and it can also provide an effective way of building the tension. There's nothing quite like it for racheting up the suspense as having the story switch back to Character B, just when you're dying to know what happens next to Character A!


Here are the viewpoint characters in The Poor Relation. Let's start with the poor relation herself...



MARY is an attractive, intelligent girl of 23, who has worked as a Town Hall clerk since leaving school at the age of 13. Mary is happy... up to a point. Being a dutiful daughter and conscientious worker is all very well, but she feels stifled. When she gets a new job at a women's employment agency, it causes ructions at home, but it expands her world and gives her the chance to develop her outlook and her initiative.



As a girl, she had a passionate affair with her cousin GREG RAWLEY, but their elopement was scuppered by their mutual aunt, HELEN RAWLEY. Emotionally, Lady Kimber never recovered from this. Pushed into a suitable but dull marriage by her parents, she was widowed young and then set her sights on marrying SIR EDWARD KIMBER, not for her own benefit, but to provide the best life and opportunities she could for her beautiful daughter, ELEANOR. She wants Eleanor to marry CHARLIE KIMBER, the heir, and succeed her as the next Lady Kimber. When it looks like Mary might derail this plan, Lady Kimber sets out to destroy her.



Aunt of Lady Kimber and Greg Rawley. A lonely, prickly old spinster, she has lived a life of being resentfully beholden to the men of her family. Long ago, her father left her in his will to her brother's care. Now, thanks to her brother's will, she faces a future of being beholden to Greg, the nephew whose life she ruined. All she wants, even after years of being cold-shouldered by Lady Kimber, is to be reunited with her once-beloved niece.



A successful and committed doctor who is on a personal crusade to bring affordable medical provision to the slums of Moss Side. A serious individual with high standards of personal and professional conduct, he lives for his work. He married IMOGEN, the girl from up the road, largely because everyone expected it, including himself and Imogen. She is the perfect wife, magically appearing with the clothes' brush whenever he is about to leave the house and specialising in stews and hot-pots that will bubble away happily if he is late. Nathaniel finds that Mary Maitland and Helen Rawley between them challenge his ideas about women.



Cousin and former lover of Lady Kimber, who is the love of his life; nephew of Helen Rawley. A debonair man-about-town, his livelihood relies on his skill/luck at the card table. He is up to his ears in debt to the sinister, silver-tongued money-lender, MR JONAS, but he has a safety-net, namely the certainty of inheriting from his uncle ROBERT RAWLEY (Helen's brother). But when Robert's will is read, it plunges Greg into unforeseen difficulties....


* * * *


I hope you like the sound of my characters and that you'll want to read Mary's story. The hardback and ebook of the The Poor Relation will be published on May 23rd in the UK. The ebook price will come down in November, when the paperback is published.


The cheapest way of all, of course, is to borrow it from your public library, so do put in a request for it. As a former librarian, I love knowing that my books are popular in libraries.


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Comments (3)

I thought I'd commented on this post, Susanna, but it seems I didn't. I enjoyed hearing more about your characters and am very much looking forward to reading 'The Poor Relation.' Not long now until publication day! xx
Thank you for your generous comments, Louise. I am delighted to hear that you have read my other books. I hope that you enjoy The Poor Relation. Thanks as always for your support.
What an interesting group of characters and all so interconnected. I can see how they will have distinct voices as they tell their own parts of the story, which is something that is a feature of your other books. I am looking forward to reading this one.