“The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail.” ~ Mark Twain
For today’s Sunday Salon I want to introduce you to a character who I think you will enjoy meeting. I’ve just started a new book which I’m finding so delightful all because of the main character, Miss Pettigrew.
We first meet Miss Pettigrew on a cold November day as she’s on her way to a job interview. Jobs are scarce and frankly Miss Pettigrew’s courage is growing thin at the prospect of finding a new job as a governess. Here is the first description of Miss Pettigrew that the author gives us:
“a middle-aged, rather angular lady, of medium height, thin through lack of good food, with a timid, defeated expression and terror quite discernible in her eyes, if any one cared to look. But there was no personal friend or relation in the whole world who knew or cared whether Miss Pettigrew was alive or dead.”
Don’t you just want to rush up to her and give her a hug? Or offer her a cup of tea and a smile?
Her circumstances clear, it is imperative that Miss Pettigrew get this job but when she arrives at Miss LaFosse’s flat she will be in for the time of her life. Miss LaFosse is quite unconventional and without even properly hiring Miss Pettigrew she begins to rely on her to help her get out of some sticky situations. And, it is thusly that Miss Pettigrew begins to live a life like one she’s not known before.
Through rich descriptions we are privy to Miss Pettigrew’s thoughts. Her shock at Miss LaFosse’s situation, the uncertainty of her job standing, and dare we even hope, happiness at having at least spent some moments being someone that mattered? Here’s one example of how the world is transforming for Miss Pettigrew:
“Dazed, Miss Pettigrew went into the bathroom. Dazed, she turned on the water. Dazed, she laid out soap and towels. She hadn’t heard aright. Her ears were playing her tricks. Even if she had heard aright she was putting the wrong construction on it. She stood gazing at the water pouring in. She was quite drunk now. She was drunk with excitement and expectancy and joy. She was drunk with an exhilaration she had never known in her life before.”
You know what’s best? All of this has happened and I’m not even at the halfway point of the novel. I don’t care, I already know that this is one character who has left quite an impression on me.
I hope this Sunday finds you reading a book with some great characters. I plan to spend at least a bit of time with Miss Pettigrew.