The cast of characters for my upcoming historical mystery novel, By Broken Birch Bay, revolves around two sisters, Honey and Petra. Besides writing in the sisters’ perspectives, I also write in the perpetrator’s perspective. The person who commits the crime remained faceless and anonymous for me until the very end. Look over the images below to read about the three of them and their thoughts early on in the novel.
Some of my other characters include :
Luke Livingston, Petra and Honey’s father
A parent should never play favorites, but Luke seems to favor Honey, though Petra is actually more like him—determined, stubborn, and hard-working. He can’t seem to totally forgive Petra for leaving their hometown and coming back unwed with a child in tow. But Luke is not perfect—and no parent is—and leads him to intervene in Petra’s life when he shouldn’t.
Polly Livingston, the sisters’ mother and Luke’s wife
In the beginning, Polly comes off cold toward Honey. The favoritism is reversed with Polly where Honey is concerned, and Polly can’t reconcile the fact that Honey is marrying a man she doesn’t approve of. The family tension grows throughout the story, coming to ahead several times, leaving the reader wondering if the family troubles will ever be resolved.
Jeb Spangler, Honey’s fiance
Jeb is a handsome, rough fisherman who is often temperamental but also has a large heart, which is perhaps why Honey fell for him in the first place. In the time period his male driven dominance is not out of the ordinary, but the reader can’t help but want Honey to assert herself more in their relationship. The narrative tends to slant Jeb in a less than flattering light at first, until some of his background is revealed, and the reader can establish some sympathy for him.
Don De Muir, Petra’s love interest
Quietly handsome but yet confident older Don won’t take no for an answer and pursues Petra as she works in the local diner. He’s kind, a man of faith, and has his own business, but most importantly he’s taken to Petra son, Jefferson. But the path of love may lead him to places he had not expected.
Roxanne (Roxy) Pheland, Honey’s best friend
Roxy is beautiful, and she knows it. Vain, funny, vivacious, and a risk taker, Roxy is not afraid to express herself or press on boundaries. She appears to genuinely care for Honey, opposites though they may be. Roxy adds some spark, spunk, and controversy to the story.
An excerpt from the second chapter, featuring dialogue between Polly and Honey:
Broken Birch Bay
For the hundred-millionth time, Honey sent up a prayer of gratitude for Petra being back at home. Honey had grieved when her sister had left eight years ago. Petra had firmly stated, “I’m moving on to bigger and better things than what our quiet life here by Broken Birch Bay can offer, Kiddo, but we’ll stay in touch. Don’t ya worry. And someday I’ll send for you.” Petra had wrapped her sisterly arms around thin, fifteen-year-old Honey, engulfing her in a tight hug.
Well, “someday” hadn’t materialized, but Honey had been okay with that. She loved everything about the bay, their home, and Lake Superior. Her one dissatisfaction had been her sister’s absence from her life. But now, with Petra’s return, things would be different. Hopefully, a better kind of different.
And then there was Jeb. Life had patched the hole in her heart with two people for the price of one. Jeb had put a ring on her finger last month, and they planned to marry by Christmas. At this point in time, life couldn’t look more positive for Honey.
Mom called from the back door. “Got all them clothes hung up?”
Honey called back, “Yes, Mom,” and clipped the last pin on a pair of her father’s jean overalls, hung over the clothesline in the middle of the backyard. Smoothing her clover-honey- colored hair—her namesake—behind her ear, Honey stooped to pick up the empty basket, wet clothes snapping and flapping against her side in the breeze off the lake.
Mom shaded her gray eyes, the same shade as Petra’s, from the noonday sun. Her daisy-printed, white and blue apron bustled in the air around her thin hips, echoing the wet clothes.
“What about Dad’s patch pair of pants? I had to scrub those extra hard and left them on the wringer.”
Honey clutched the empty basket to the side of her body and stepped lively toward the white, clapboard house with green trim, her long legs making short work of the distance.
“Yep. All done,” she told Mom.
Honey and Petra differed drastically in stature and hair color. Petra’s hair burned a burnished red, and her petite frame stood four inches shorter than Honey. Their faces were similar, though, with fine bones, evenly set eyes, and mouths that took up half their faces. That trait had come from Dad’s side of the family. The portrait of Dad with his siblings evidenced the fact that they all had smiles large enough to put a sausage and bun in sideways.
“Mr. Spangler coming for lunch?”
Mom emphasized Jeb’s name and narrowed her fine brows down, not exactly hiding her displeasure. Honey couldn’t understand her mother’s hesitancy when it came to Jeb. After they’d gotten engaged, Mom hadn’t uttered a word of congratulations but in private had offered, “Are you sure? There’s somethin’ I don’t trust about that boy.”
Dad had been all for the match. “Long as he takes care of my little girl, I’ll be happy.”
Honey climbed the few steps to the back entrance to the house. “He said he might, if they get back in time.” Jeb had gone out with his uncle on his fishing trolley, hoping to catch some haddock. “Might bring us back some fish too.”
Honey smiled, hoping to put Jeb in Mom’s good graces.
Mom didn’t crack a smile in return. “Hmm. Well, we’ll see, won’t we?”
Honey rolled her eyes and walked past Mom into the kitchen.
Really? Would it kill her to give Jeb a little credit?
She plonked the empty basket down on the table and turned to her mother, one hand on her hip and a sassy tone in her voice. “Anything else?”
“Don’t get your feathers in a flutter.” Mom let the screen door bang behind her and said in an even tone, “That’s all for now. I’ll call you when I need help with lunch. Got the pie made, just need to get the main dish together.”
Honey nodded, swiveling on her heel and marching to retrieve a novel from her room to get her mind off her frustration with her mother. She trailed her finger along the spines of the books on her bookshelves, waiting for one to grab her attention. Honey’s index finger stopped at Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. For some reason a gothic novel appealed to her at the moment. She knew the gist of the story but hadn’t ever read it. Plucking it off the shelf, she cozied herself on the window seat Dad had made her. She always felt rather like Charlotte Bronte’s neglected and ill-treated Jane Eyre, curled up as she was on the cushioned, tapestry-covered seat. A couple of pages in, Honey let the book drift down to her lap. Something unsettled her, and she couldn’t concentrate on the words.
What is it? What’s the matter with me?
Still the same thing: Mom’s lack of enthusiasm for Jeb. What was it that she didn’t like about him?
Thanks for reading!
As always, thanks for reading my humble words and stories. Blessings on your day! J