Tuesday, 27 October 2015
In every book, there's a character whom readers love to hate!
In The Housemaid's Daughter, that character is spiteful, beautiful Rosemary, daughter of Irish matriarch Cathleen Harrington. Rose confounds her generous parents and loving brother, Phil, at every turn.
Rosemary has not been easy. Perhaps I was spoiled with Phil,whose good cheer was evident even in the crib. In contrast, Rosemary finds fault with the world in general, and her mother in particular. Maybe the fault lies with me, in my ability to be the right sort of mother. Yet every effort I have made has been rebuffed.
Young housemaid, Ada, envies Rose's beauty...
Prettiness is what Miss Rose had, with yellow hair and slate-blue eyes and a voice that teased men - but soon learns to be cautious. Rose is a master of the devastating put-down.
"I don't have time to explain about numbers," said Miss Rose over her shoulder, as she brushed her hair in front of the mirror. "You haven't any money so you probably don't need to learn to count."
We've all met people like Rose! But is it difficult to create her from scratch?
For me, the answer was no. I must confess that I loved writing her! I could indulge in every trick I could think of to make her as mean as possible. Friction is what gives novels their bite, and although Rose is not a major character in the book, her interventions are crucial. Ada discovers her treachery by chance...
"Pay her off!" hissed Rose at her father. "She'll leave anyway, as soon as it suits her."
"But I've promised Cathleen -"
"You owe her nothing more. And it's not safe."
"There haven't been any prosecutions in Cradock..." Master's voice trailed off.
"No prosecutions yet, you mean. But who knows how long that will last?"