Miranda, a Southern girl, eight years old at the book’s beginning, who cannot understand until she grows up that adults were once young, too. She is puzzled as to why grown-ups cling to the relics of the past. She and her sister are educated in a convent in New Orleans. When she grows up, she marries without her father’s consent. As an adult, she finally realizes she has no part in the past and must find her own legends.
Maria, Miranda’s older sister, twelve years old at the beginning of the book, who has the same inability to understand adults and their lives as her sister.
Grandmother, the children’s grandmother, a woman who twice a year spends a day in her attic weeping over the relics of her family’s past.
Amy, the children’s father’s sister, reputed to have been the most beautiful girl in the South, as well as the best rider, the best dancer, and quite a flirt. A spoiled darling, she dies mysteriously six weeks after marrying Gabriel.
Harry, Miranda and Maria’s father, who hopes, dubiously, that his chubby, freckle-faced little girls will become as beautiful as his sister Amy. He fought a duel over his sister and spent a year in Mexico as a fugitive.
Great-aunt Keziah, one of the girls’ relatives, a fat and ugly woman....
(The entire section is 410 words.)