Vinca Ferret (feh-RAY), a fifteen-year-old girl who has always spent her summers in Brittany with her family and their friends, the Audeberts. Vinca is a beautiful young girl whose periwinkle-blue eyes are her most striking feature. She is a girl/woman whose behavior moves between naughty, rebellious outbursts and coquettish charm. She is in love with Philippe Audebert, and during the summer when the action of the novel takes place, she is confused about the changes in each of them, changes that affect their relationship and cause a rift in what has been a long-standing and fast friendship. She is particularly bewildered by her own newly discovered sexual desire and by Philippe’s affair with an older woman. She cannot understand why he would choose to have his first sexual encounter with someone else.
Philippe Audebert (fee-LEEP oh-deh-BEHR), a sixteen-year-old boy who spends his summers in Brittany with his family and their friends, the Ferrets. He is slender, with a beautiful young body of firm flesh molded over taut, unobtrusive muscles. During this particular summer, he is aware of the awakening of his sexuality and of his sexual desire for Vinca, his childhood friend and the girl he knows he is destined to marry one day. He is frustrated and impatient to possess Vinca when he meets an older woman, dressed entirely in white, on the Brittany beach. Camille Dalleray introduces him to sexual pleasure, and he becomes sexually addicted to her, although he continues to love Vinca. He makes comparisons between the older woman and his inexperienced young girlfriend; these comparisons create conflicts for the young protagonist in the summer of his coming of age.
Madame Camille Dalleray
Madame Camille Dalleray (kah-MEEL dahl-REE), the Lady-in-White, who spends her summers vacationing in Brittany. She is a mythic figure, appearing entirely in white: white dress, white diamonds, and white skin. She is experienced in seduction; it is her vocation. She particularly desires boys with bodies like Greek statues. She has a dizzying effect on Philippe when they meet. When he returns to find her, she quickly and deftly seduces him, and when she decides that the affair must end, she leaves Ker-Anna, her villa in Brittany, just as quickly.