Ten Secondary Characters Who Deserve More Love

Ten Secondary Characters Who Need More Love

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Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share ten secondary characters who deserve more love. I have a shelf full of books featuring characters I love on GoodReads so this was pretty easy to compile. I used to host a meme called Character Connection on my first turn at book blogging so I’ll link to some of those descriptions here.

Ten Secondary Characters Who Need More Love

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak–I’m going to start with a “twofer.” I loved both Papa (Hans Hubermann) and Rudy Steiner. Papa is quietly brave and good. He largely goes unnoticed but the people he helps (there are many) never forget him. Rudy is more visibly brave but he’s also faithful and loyal. These two, man. I love them like family.

Goldie Vance by Hope Larson, et al.–Goldie is showier and more intuitive but her best friend Cheryl Lebeaux is the real brains behind the girl detective. Cheryl is the researcher and the scientist. She’s also the one who drags Goldie out for early morning runs because Cheryl’s dearest dream is to become an astronaut.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, translated by Lucia Graves–Fermín Romero de Torres is my hero. He’s been tortured, he has his dark moments, but he’s the very soul of chivalry. He can charm any woman alive, I swear.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle–Arthur Dogger is easy to overlook in the early books of the Flavia de Luce series. He was a prisoner in a Japanese camp during World War II and he has what I can only assume is PTSD. He disappears into a dark place sometimes. Flavia’s father had much the same experiences but the loss of his wife has left him almost incapable of raising his three daughters. Dogger is quietly there, watching over Flavia, answering her questions, and making sure she doesn’t come to harm during her murder investigations and her science experiments. His role gets larger as the series continues and I’m so glad.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly–Weaver Smith is a young Black man in the Adirondacks in 1906. He was born in Mississippi but after his father’s murder, his mother moved her family north and away from the lynchings that were almost a matter of course in the South of that time. (Incidentally, Mrs. Weaver is another minor character who deserves more recognition.) Weaver is proud and he’s brilliant. He’s a hard worker and he knows that he has a good life and a good career ahead of him. Upstate New York isn’t free of racism but he refuses to be treated as less than or act subservient. He has a great sense of humor and he has faith in Mattie, the main character, even when she doesn’t have faith in herself.

Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery–I haven’t (re)read this book in a long time and I’ve never reviewed it but I love Captain Jim Boyd. He’s a gentle old sailor who tends the lighthouse now. He has the soul of a poet and storyteller and shares many a sad tale with Anne. But mostly he fills in as a father figure for this young, hopeful bride who goes through some of her darkest times under his watchful care.

Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint–The Crow Girls figure in several of de Lint’s Newford books but they have their largest role in this one, my favorite. The girls, Maida and Zia, are best described as feral. I’m tempted to call them amoral too but that isn’t exactly right. They each have a streak of the trickster but if they witness something that violates their own strict moral code, they become deadly serious. Quickly. I think they would be a part of the Fae in a different book series. But mostly they’re happy asking crazy questions, sticking their noses where they don’t belong, and eating all the sugar they can find. There’s a story in Newford’s mythology that Raven created the world when he stirred his big pot–and the Crow Girls were there to watch him do it.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly–I love Calpurnia herself so much, she almost overshadows all the other characters in the book. But I think Calpurnia’s life would be different if she didn’t have Granddaddy Walter Tate. Calpurnia has the mind of a scientist but she’s growing up in Texas in 1899. Her mother is tired of Calpurnia’s constant wanderings and she’s trying to train Calpurnia to become a good wife and mother in the future. But Granddaddy finally recognizes her inquisitive mind and starts training her as a scientist. He also snatches some breathing space for Calpurnia away from her mom. He believes in Calpurnia and helps her become the person she truly wants to be.

Changeless by Gail Carriger–The Parasol Protectorate series has a lot of great, quirky characters, but I’m going to focus on Madame Genevieve Lefoux for this post. Lefoux appears to make her living as a milliner when we first meet her but she’s secretly a brilliant inventor. She creates the eponymous parasol for Alexia, the main character. I won’t presume to label the good madame but she only wears the most fashionable of men’s clothes, something that just isn’t done in Victorian London, and she delights in flirting with Alexia. We learn more about her in prequels and sequels but she’s still a bit of a delightful enigma.

Persuasion by Jane Austen–Okay, Captain Frederick Wentworth isn’t exactly a minor character in this book; he’s the love interest for heaven’s sake! But Mr. Darcy overshadows him so much in the Austen oeuvre that I’m going to include him. I don’t understand. Mr. Darcy is fine but Captain Wentworth? He’s the one for me. Anne broke his heart years earlier but he still has hope. And there’s that letter. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.” I love this so much that my husband bought me a gorgeous bracelet with the words on it.

That’s my list! Have you read any of these? Did you love these characters too? Which characters did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

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  1. Such good choices! I remember loving The Shadow of the Wind, but can’t remember the details.

  2. What a great gift from your husband!

    The Book Thief is on my lifetime Top Ten reads and I, too, loved Rudy and Papa. I always intend to read the book a second time, but I’m afraid it might not be as good and I hate to spoil my love for the story.

  3. I have (at this point) only read Persuasion and Pride & Prejudice once each, but I did enjoy Persuasion more. I’m with you on that one!

    And I really need to read more of Charles de Lint’s work. I love what I’ve read so far, just haven’t actually picked up more of the books yet (despite owning some of them).

    My post this week

  4. Sigh. That Wentworth letter. And you have a bracelet with those words! That’s amazing. 🙂 🙂

    You have brought up some excellent characters – Jim Boyd and Crow Girls and Madame Lefoux. And I had almost given up on Flavia series, but that bit about Arthur Dogger gives me some hope.

    1. I thought I had a picture of the bracelet on my blog but if I do, I can’t find it. It’s in storage right now while we’re traveling so I can’t take a picture of it now. I love it though.

      Flavia is more of the same but it works for me. There are big twists every couple of books that keep me interested. One of those twists leads to Dogger taking on a bigger role.

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