This is cross-posted at The Season.
One of the biggest reasons I’m a romance fan is that the genre thrives on strong characters. A good romance novel will put human behavior under a microscope and expose all the nuance of our emotions.
Reading a novel can make me feel like I’ve met new friends, or become part of a new community or family. I don’t mean that in a pathetic way. I love my family, friends and (sometimes) community. But I also love escaping into a new world, and well-written characters draw me in like nothing else.
I don’t know about you, but I start getting sad when I’m about 20 pages from the end of a book I love. I despise saying goodbye to people I’ve come to admire. If they’ve made me laugh or cry, I feel even worse (and let’s not mention those rare characters who make me laugh AND cry).
So today I’m giving everyone a magic potion. This potion will let you bring one character to life for a week.
The character I’d choose comes from a Jane Austen novel, Persuasion. I’d want to meet Captain Wentworth – not just so I could swoon over him (though there would certainly be significant swooning involved).
I’d want to know about his naval experiences. He must’ve seen some serious badass battles to have earned money and respectability as a sailor. And, let’s face it, judging from the letter he writes his heroine Anne, the man has a stunning way with words. I’d want to hear his beautiful, deep voice telling me stories about life in Regency England—on land and sea.
I can see two problems with my magic potion. First, real people can be disappointing.
What if Captain Wentworth looked around my neighborhood—the docklands of London—and recognized that in his time it was known for cheap prostitutes and press gangs who knocked men out and sold them to ships’ captains? I’m sure he didn’t act like a saint during those years in between being rejected by Anne and then meeting her again. Jane Austen was probably too much of a lady (and too good a writer) to include information like that. What if Captain Wentworth wanted to revisit his sleazy days and told me about all the doxies he’d done?
What if he got really excited about how penicillin could help him with his itchy medical issue?
Second problem: sending him back to the pages of his novel after a week. If he really turned out as admirable as he is in Persuasion, I’d hate to say goodbye. Of course, I know he’d need to get back to Anne, and I’d never try to take the place of his heroine. I love Anne too much for that. But I’d miss spending time with my unusual new friend.
Unless, of course, he refused to adopt the modern habits of daily showering and deodorant–wearing. In which case, Anne can have him.
If you could bring one fictional character to life for a week, who would it be and what would you do? Is there a heroine you’d share a pitcher of margaritas with? A hero you’d smooch? Or would you prefer to keep characters where they belong?