Lucinda Brayford is primarily the story of its namesake. Although several characters step briefly to the forefront—including William, Frederick, Julia, Stephen, Arthur and Marian Brayford of Crittenden Manor, and Paul—it is Lucinda who links them all. The others are important insofar as they reveal something about Lucinda. As Stephen says on one occasion, “I know a lot more about mum than she thinks I do.” In like manner, other characters consciously or unconsciously reveal to the reader facets of Lucinda of which she herself is often unaware.
Frederick and Julia, Lucinda’s parents, became hard-bitten in an effort to restore the Vane fortunes. Emerging from this atmosphere, Lucinda was targeted for her parents’ social goals without being of requisite stock. She was the sweetest of the Vane children, but almost of necessity she took on her parents’ stamp. Lucinda shows a mercenary aspect when leaving a devoted admirer for the more favorable match with Hugo. This aspect is developed further when she pays back her husband in kind by having an affair. When pushed to the wall, Lucinda will see to her interests. Throughout the travail of Hugo’s war wound and Pat’s departure, Lucinda demonstrates that she is made up of equal parts of compassion, romance, vulnerability, and resolve. She learns from her experiences and reacts to her environment. With age, Lucinda is required to take on the role of arbiter and executor in family matters....
(The entire section is 516 words.)