Belinda, Molly... and Introducing Nancy

Posted on 16th April, 2021

Before I start writing a book, I produce a detailed synopsis of at least 6 or 7 pages. Part of this is the personal details of my heroine and her background - all the things have have made her into the person she is today, as the book opens.


In this blog, I'm going to share with you the character studies I wrote - ages ago now! - for Belinda Layton, the heroine of The Surplus Girls, and Molly Watson, heroine of The Surplus Girls' Orphans, and I'll also tell you a little about Nancy Pike, the heroine of book 3, Christmas with the Surplus Girls, which will be published later this year.




BELINDA LAYTON (20, coming up 21) is from a large, impoverished family. The Laytons are pretty awful. They used to be respectable, hard-working working-class. But dad DENBY has gone from bad to worse where jobs are concerned and each job has dragged his family further down the social ladder. Mum KATHLEEN despairs of him and whenever she appears, you can smell the burning martyr. Denby is always trying to get money out of his three working children, much to Kathleen’s annoyance… but then she creeps after them and tries to wheedle money out of them herself.


Fortunately for Belinda – though she feels guilty for being relieved about it – she moved in with her fiancé’s widowed mother ENID SLOAN and grandmother BEATTIE SLOAN when, aged 15, she got engaged; but her fiancé, BEN SLOAN, died at the end of the War and since then Belinda has been a pretend-widow. She owes a lot to Enid and Beattie. Their cottage might be tiny but it is a big step up for Belinda, whose family is crammed into two rooms in a shabby house containing four families, all of whom share a stinking privy in the back yard. For Belinda, being invited to live with Enid and Beattie was a massive relief, but also a source of guilt, because she feels she shouldn’t be glad not to live with her family.



* * * *



MOLLY WATSON (27) comes from a loving, supportive family. DAD has a building firm and while the Watson aren't rich, they have never had to struggle. Two married sisters - CHRISTABEL and TILDA - and one brother, TOM, who is lovely. MUM, GRAN, AUNTIE FAITH, cousin DORA and more or less everyone else is eager for Molly to get married and be secure for life.



Molly is in the middle of a five-year engagement to NORRIS HUNTLEY. What a lucky girl she is to have a chap of her own when so many girls these days don’t and never will. And Norris is lovely. Honestly. He is good-natured and kind and won’t push her around. Oh, and generous. He is full of what he will buy her and all the things he will provide for their home – a vacuum cleaner, a modern cooker. All Molly’s female relatives can list her future material advantages. But for all his fine words, somehow Norris never quite spends his money in the here and now.



* * * *


And introducing Nancy

You'll understand, of course, that in these pre-publication days, I can't tell you much about Nancy. But I will say that, at just turned 19, she is the youngest of the heroines, though her circumstances - a hard-up family and a semi-invalid mother - mean she had to grow up quickly. She wasn't particularly gifted academically, so at school she concentrated on the practical lessons – needlework, cookery and housework, which doesn't exactly make her sound like the ideal candidate to enrol in the Miss Heskeths' business school, does it? All will be revealed...!


* * * *


Link to my Polly Heron page on Amazon




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