These people have been populating my head for the past while, so I want to share them with you – I’m looking forward to readers getting to know them better next year, if they don’t recognise them already, that is! For the gentlemen in Lucia’s life, I also have visuals 🙂
Lucia Percival, by the time this novel begins, is an accomplished opera singer, a dramatic soprano with considerable coloratura range, whose talent and ambition are hampered only by attitudes towards her race. But in the late Forties, on the eve of her last performance, she has no intention of going onstage, and she has a story to tell. Thirty years earlier, as a poor, ambitious young Jamaican girl seeking her fortune as a musician in London during the First World War, her life took a wrong turning and has never recovered its course. Her brother Reginald is also overseas, on active service, and bitter about his prospects, to an extent which alarms Lucia.
Her friend Eva is her Irish housemate – and, being white if not of high class, a useful ally, helping Lucia meet people, manage a life in a hostile city, and get herself together again. But can she be relied upon while struggling with demons of her own and cranky a lot of the time? Eva’s friend Sybil, an aristocrat living a dangerous life, is intelligent but has little time for Lucia.
Edgar, a fellow Jamaican, was supposed to study at the Bar, but ended up in a munitions factory then became a private investigator. Lucia seeks him out for certain details.
William Butler Yeats is a rather annoying Irishman in his mid-fifties, whom Lucia encounters at a séance in Euston Square and has to work hard to shake off. Writes poems too.
Arthur, a charismatic and seemingly easygoing African-American composer, is drawn to Lucia and they share an intellectual and emotional bond as musicians. But while he understands her in a way few else can, Lucia is uncertain if she can confide her secrets in him.
Here is a visual of Arthur as I see him, represented by the tenor Lawrence Brownlee:
Image from lawrencebrownlee.com – who is a lovely singer and well worth checking out
Robin, on the other hand, Scottish doctor and “ginger midget”, who forges a different bond with Lucia during the thick of battle, is blunt, forthright and “Lord Mayors” (swears) far too much – not to mention challenges Lucia to a game of chess with fiery results! But when it comes to his family, he is not quite so courageous, with disastrous results…
Here is a visual of Robin as I see him, represented by the actor Scott Grimes:
courtesy of imdb.com – and Robin’s the kind of guy who would *totally* have the top button open!
Lilian, meanwhile, is an old woman scarred by the war, and its rules on how she is expected to behave in the face of great loss. Damaged and lost, rejected by society, she falls into Lucia’s life and the fellow feeling between the two women, as well as the secrets Lilian uncovers, galvanises Lucia in spite of herself.
And of course there is the most important character, the centre of Lucia’s life, whom I will refrain from discussing at this juncture, but who absolutely informs her decisions, her life and her regrets…
So, that’s it!