I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Discussion: The Inspiration for Today's Characters

Later today my book group is discussing I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  This classic British story first came out in 1948 and has delighted readers for many years.  I will have a full report on our discussion later in the week.

But today I want to share something I was thinking of as I ready the novel.  The book is written as journal entries by a 15 year old girl named Cassandra.  But the entire time I just kept thinking, she is just like Flavia de Luce from the Alan Bradley mystery series.  Click here to read how much I adore Flavia.

In fact, if I only had 2 minutes to describe I Capture the Castle to someone, I would begin by asking if they like Flavia and move on from there.  I would describe the older book in relation to a Flavia novel.

However, I had to keep reminding myself that Cassandra is not like Flavia, rather, Flavia is obviously inspired by Cassandra.  Both are young girls who used to be wealthy, living in dilapidated grand homes in the British countryside during the same era (1948 and 1951).  They both are quite bright, but still naive, which makes them extremely compelling as narrators.  Also Cassandra's sister totally reminded me of Flavia's sisters.

Personally, I like the Flavia books more, but it is mostly because of the writing style.  Since the Flavia books are written now, they have a more modern story telling technique.

The similarities were astonishing to me, and yet, I never read an interview or review of Bradley's work which mentions the connection.  And I have read a lot about Bradley since I like Flavia so much.

This got me wondering how many other characters out there now, remind people of characters from the past.

So for today's Monday Discussion, let me know of any past characters who you see reflected in some of your favorite characters today.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


John BPL RA said...

This is a rather tough one because every time I see characters like this they make me long for the ones they are based on. That said, there are a number character types just sitting there unused. The most astonishing is probably Dracula. With all the vampire novels of recent years, his type of vampire needs to be brought back. The "traditional" vampire of legend who lives in a castle, only comes out at night, needs boxes of soil to travel, has some sort of dark, romantic past, and does not attend high school. I would also like to see the return of the Byronic Hero. Childe Harold and Don Juan type characters are never, ever seen EVER! They make recent protagonists look so bland in comparison and would be so perfect for the 21st century with advanced travel and adventure scenarios.

Sarah Elsewhere said...

I might be insane, but I've wondered lately if there's a connection between "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" and "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day." I might be reading too much into the titles.

Anonymous said...


I notice similarities between
two detectives in two series I
enjoy very much. Ed McBain's
Steve Carella and John Sandford's
Lucas Davenport. Though begun
decades apart, both characters
possess the same tough, cynical
nature but are good-hearted men
who love their families, have
a true sense of honor and justice
but are also willing to do what-
ever it takes to defend the in-
nocent and the victimized.