Can’t separate Merrill from Bernadette? Who’s Bro again? Here’s a quick run-down of everyone in Cordelia’s life.
Cordelia Hewett—our protagonist. Cordelia is just your average, everyday Regency-Era heroine…except, y’know, dark. She’s a high-born lady plagued by the dark spirits of the past and her own personal demons, which naturally makes her the perfect guide to the strange world of the Gothic Romantic. She presents the day-to-day troubles of living the life of a tortured aristocrat, from getting distracted from spiteful wasting away to discovering her husband’s yet another wife hidden in the attic.
- Despite this bad habit, Cordelia and her husband Merrill do love each other. A lot. Like, a lot. They also have a son, but, according to Cordelia, he’s not relevant to her present plotline, so he’s mostly ignored.
- She’s semi-aware of her status as a (faux) literary character. She realizes that she’s somewhat different than other women and is better than most at seeing conveniently-timed life events that may, in fact, be a metaphor for her status as a “fallen woman.” That said, she’s very into her role.
Merrill Hewett—Cordelia’s husband. He has an obsession with collecting wives and sticking them in strange places, but ultimately he is devoted to Cordelia. Probably too devoted.
- That said, he went through quite an ordeal to marry her. Before his addiction to overly-contrived marriages, he fell in love with her at a ball. But alas! She was already betrothed! But that night, under the stars, he promised himself, body and soul, to devote his life to her, and that they would find a way to be together forever. Conveniently enough, Cordelia’s previous fiancé was carried away by “consumption or smothering or whatever” (to quote Cordelia). She and Merrill were married at once, but the elaborateness of his plan had been addicting, leading to his current problem with wives.
- That said, he knows just how many poison rings Cordelia has ready, just in case he crosses the line. He thinks it’s kind of hot.
Cordelia’s brother (Bro)—A doctor. He keeps trying to suggest that she needs help; she counters every suggestion by blaming everything on ghosts.
- If you ask, he’ll tell you that their childhood was perfectly fine, and that no, Cordelia’s mother had not seen the devil in her and tried to drown her—it had just been a bath she hadn’t wanted to take.
The Maid—She doesn’t get paid enough.
- Continuously cleans up after Cordelia and Merrill, in addition to nursing the child that everyone forgets about. Every now and again she gives good, maid-type advice, but no one listens.
Bernadette Matthews—Cordelia’s “rival”. Basically the Ned Flanders to Cordelia’s Homer Simpson.
- Bernadette is the traditional Romantic heroine. She is inherently good and ever-so-pure, though she does dabble in spiritualism from time to time. Overall, though, she is a testament to anyone being able to rise in the ranks by being pretty and pleasant enough, and is the perfect representation of Regency womanhood.
- Tries her best to be friends with Cordelia. It’s not very effective.
The Child—As mentioned earlier, Cordelia sees him as wholly unrelated to her current arc, but she does hope he’ll take after her and have “something of the devil about him”.
- She later learns that, no doubt due to her neglect, his life is shaping up to be the first few chapters of a Dickens story—despite being four, he can give long monologues on the goodness of people and thinking the best of them despite his own dire situation of having two mad parents. Cordelia secretly hopes he’ll pull a “Little Nell” and just be done with it.