Other characters: Tori Harding (major character), Jessa Harding, her sister, Sir Charles Littlewood, her grandfather, Col. Terrence Harding, her father.
Captain Edmond Muir-Smith has served in the army with Tori Harding’s father, and is recently back from a campaign in Bharata–that mystical continent of magical powers. His visit to the Harding household is greeted as a courtship opportunity for Jessa Harding, the youngest daughter. But Edmond takes an interest in Tori instead, finding that they share a fascination with natural science, the theories of Darwin and the scientific approach. Tori is thrown into confusion by his attentions. She has learned to suppress her longings for a love relationship; hers is a future in science (if the strictures of Victorian society will permit it.)
Edmond Muir-Smith is the perfect Anglic gentlemen, with the right background, deportment and connections. He is unmarried, and Jessa is dazzled by him. Tori must deflect his attentions–which would never result in marriage, given her malady (a club foot.) Added to these barriers, her tutor and famous scientist grandfather Sir Charles takes an immediate dislike to Edmond, warning his beloved granddaughter about “married slavery.” She has a duty, he has taught her, to pursue science despite all distractions and obstacles. This dilemma of two competing desires follows Tori throughout the story. It is complicated by the fact that Edmond has a traditional view of Anglica’s colonial role, and Tori–once she travels to Bharata–comes to see that role as exploitative. Edmond will be sorely tested by Tori’s startling demands for independence and her rejection of empire. But it’s also true that he’s never met a woman like Tori Harding: challenging, highly educated, without affection–and without the marriage agenda.
Edmond is charged with her protection once she travels to the princely state of Kathore–where palace intrigues, ghosts, and demons swirl about her covert mission to find the one thing that can secure her place in the world.
Previous character sketches for A Thousand Perfect Things:
My latest novel, A Thousand Perfect Things, comes out August 27 in print and e-book. In the next few posts I’ll run character sketches from my notebook. No matter how dramatic the plot, stories are always about people first, and their relationships to each other. #SFWAauthors