When I was writing The Devil of Clan Sinclair I found myself wondering about Ellice. Back then she was “Poor Ellice” to me. She was left to cope with her sister’s death, her mother’s disintegration, and Virginia’s race to Scotland to bring back her child. Unprepared for just about everything, she was expected to handle a household still reeling from smallpox.
She was one of those characters in a book you rarely notice, someone who is a wallflower, perhaps. She’s in the background and she serves some purpose, but you never see her grow and change.
From the beginning, I knew Ellice was different.
That year in London changed her drastically. Before her brother’s death she was outspoken and a little wild. After her sister Eudora died, she was quiet and withdrawn, holding her thoughts inside where no one could criticize them.
I immediately felt a kinship with Ellice.
She allowed her imagination full rein, dreaming up all sorts of things. When she went to Edinburgh to visit Mairi she stumbled onto some illicit literature. Well, that just made everything even more imaginative. Besides, how could she possibly live at Drumvagen without noticing the passion all around her?
I discovered Ellice hadn’t really changed; she just went undercover. She’d learned well from the criticism aimed at her, hiding her brashness and curiosity. That didn’t mean it went away, however. In the end she was forced to grow into herself and became proud of exactly who she was.
I love it when a character grows like that. Don’t you?