Evie is the narrator of the story and its main character. Her compelling voice makes the reader want to turn the pages to find out what happens next. As the chapters move along, Evie learns more about herself as a young teenager growing into a woman. Parallel to this growth is her uncovering the truth about her parents' lives.
Beverly is Evie’s mother and is portrayed as an aimless woman, someone who follows her husband in whatever he does but without any clear goals for herself. She is stuck in a typical woman’s role as a housewife in the 1940s. Beverly is sexually charged and manipulates men to get what she wants. She wants to keep Evie innocent, but does not realize that her actions as a role model speak louder than her cautions to Evie.
Joe is a man with big dreams but little follow-through and true ambition. He is always looking for an easy way to make money. He has few morals and will do whatever he can to succeed. He lies often and is unaware of his true feelings. He uses people to get what he wants. Joe likes Evie but does not care very much about what she does. He sees her as his property and whatever she does is a reflection on his character. He feels the same about his wife.
Peter Coleridge comes from a poor family and wants the money he has been promised by Joe. Peter is manipulative and makes his presence known to Joe by threatening to expose him. Peter takes what he can get out of Joe, his wife, and his daughter Evie. However, as the novel progresses, he confides in Evie and develops true feelings for her. He seems to respect Evie, and they become closer as they share secrets with each other.
Mrs. Grayson is kind, but she is also manipulative. She takes Evie shopping as a bribe in hopes that she will not tell her mother or father what she knows. She treats Evie as older than she really is in an attempt to win her affections and her loyalty. She keeps Evie nearby so Evie will not say too much and ruin her plans to buy the hotel with Joe. However, she must do that because she is Jewish and the hotel cannot be owned by a Jewish person in Palm Beach in 1947. In the end, Mrs. Grayson is wise and accepting. She consoles Evie about her feelings for Peter and her feelings about her father stealing property from the Jews. Mrs. Grayson also consoles Evie about her inability to trust her stepfather in regard to Peter's death.