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The Main Cast (In order of appearance)
- —"I knew I couldn't avoid his affections much longer. I had no idea how to tell him."
Hetty Feather/Sapphire Battersea/Emerald Star (b.1876) is the protagonist of the Hetty Feather series and the narrator. The series begins when Hetty is a child, and ends when she is in her late teens.
Hetty is fiery and has an extremely short fuse, struggling with discipline and authority. She cares deeply for those she loves and tries her best to be kind, but is often narcissistic and self-centered. She unintentionally hurts those around her, particularly her foster brother Jem as we see later on in the series. Although the love is mostly unrequited, there is some evidence to show that Hetty may have returned his feelings, particularly her strong reaction to Jem's marriage and discomfort at seeing Jem and Janet's life together in a vision.
- Career Versus Man: The main dilemma Hetty faces throughout the books. She leaves Jem for the circus and can't reconcile her feelings for either him or Bertie.
- Commitment Issues: Can't settle down at all, avoids Jem's marriage proposal in running away to the circus.
- Fiery Redhead
- Green-Eyed Epiphany:
- Sort-of with Jem, when she realises he's engaged.
- With Bertie, when she sees him laughing with Ivy backstage in Little Stars.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Hetty has worked a HUGE variety of jobs:
- Scullery Maid
- Farmer's market saleswoman
- Circus Ringmaster
- Music Hall artiste
- Redhead in Green: Hetty makes her first dress out of green velvet, which can be seen on the cover of Sapphire Battersea.
- Small Town Boredom: What Hetty loathes about returning to her childhood home; there's nothing to do.
- —"But I don't want to marry Janet, Hetty. God help me, I want you. And you want me too, otherwise you wouldn't have come all this way, I can see it in your eyes."
Jem Cotton (b.1872) is Hetty's older foster brother, introduced in the title book. Sweet and caring, he is endlessly patient to those he loves, particularly Hetty, making sure to write to her consistently when she is in service and in the Hospital. Son of Peg and John Cotton, his profession is farming, taking over his duties on the village farm when his father died in Emerald Star.
As Hetty says, Jem is similar to a 'Shire horse', in the sense that he is gentle and reliable, and rather oppositional to Hetty, who's spontaneity confuses and discomforts him. Jem is deeply in love with his foster sister Hetty, so much so he'd do anything for her. Jem desperately wants to marry Hetty and live with her as his wife and mother of his children, but Hetty doesn't't feel the same way, resulting in a painful love triangle between Jem, Hetty and Janet, a local village girl who is madly in love with Jem.
- Age-Gap Romance: Arguable, as a 14/15/16 year old and a 19/20/21 year old isn't so bad for the era and location, and is only 4-5 years, but raises eyebrows nowadays due to the huge gap in emotional maturity. After all, Jem attempts to corner Hetty about getting married "in a few years" but Hetty is still a child.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Bertie's Veronica.
- Big Brother Mentor
- Country Mouse: What Hetty criticises Jem for being- Jem went to London once to collect Hetty from the Hospital and hated it.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Nothing Jem can do can subdue Hetty.
- Mr. Fanservice: To all the girls in the village as he's literally Tall, Dark, and Handsome.
- Not Blood Siblings: The convenient excuse for him and hetty.
- Patient Childhood Love Interest
- Oblivious to Love: To Janet, at least.
- Old Flame Fizzle: To Hetty.
- Opposites Attract: The gentle, kind, slightly-boring Jem is in love with the exciting and lively Hetty.
- Runaway Fiancé: Defied. Jem attempts to persuade Hetty to runaway with him, but ultimately the marriage happens anyway when Hetty brings him back to reality by reminding him of the consequences.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: It's implied that he's still in-love with Hetty right before and after he gets married.
Ida Battersea/Evie Edenshaw
- —'Don't be so ungrateful!'
Ida Battersea/Evie Edenshaw (b.1850s-1880) is the mother of the protagonist Hetty Feather. Ida conceived Hetty with a sailor, and was on he own, with no choice but to give up Hetty into the Foundling Hospital. Ida watched Hetty grow up from afar, posing as a cook in the Hospital to help raise her daughter without her knowledge.
Ida eventually dies in 'Emerald Star' of Tuberculosis and Pneumonia, and it is revealed in 'Emerald Star' that her real name is Evie Edenshaw.
Ida is very loving and caring to her daughter, and only wants the best for her wellbeing.
- Ascended Extra: Became far more important to the story in the latter half of Emerald Star, and was elevated to a main character in Diamond and Little Stars.
- Cool Old Lady: Still performing well into her age, and past her 'prime' as well. She's eventually replaced by a younger horse act the end of Diamond however, which prompts Hetty and Diamond to run away.
- Older Than They Look: When Madame Adeline takes off her red wig and makeup she looks far older.
- Parental Substitute: To both Hetty and Diamond.
A former Butcher's boy turned Music Hall artiste, Hetty and Bertie first met in Sapphire Battersea whilst Hetty worked as a scullery maid. They become romantically involved after reuniting in Little Stars.
- Ascended Extra: Put on a bus after Sapphire Battersea, returns in Little Stars.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Jem's Betty.
- Casanova Wannabe
- Chivalrous Pervert
- Green-Eyed Monster: At times, especially whenever Jem is mentioned.
- Ladykiller in Love: Gets around a lot and has made a name for himself with the ladies, but is genuinely loyal and loving to Hetty.
- Old Flame: To Hetty.
A performer sold to the circus by her own father. Small and sweet, Diamond has a timid and loving nature and befriends Hetty at the end of Emerald Star.
- The Baby of the Bunch: Diamond is only 7 or 8 at the time of Little Stars.
- Break the Cutie: Beaten savagely by her own master for not being able to do a somersault.
- The Cutie: Although has occasional Bratty Half-Pint moments, especially in Little Stars.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Has fine golden hair and is a harmless child.
- Stage Names
- Tagalong Kid
- Debut:Emerald Star.
- Beauty = Goodness: Handsome and nice.
- Disappeared Dad: For at least 15 years, though justified as he has no idea he had a child.
- Happily Married: To Katherine.
- Lady Killer In Love: Devilishly handsome and got around a lot once, but was in-love with Hetty's mum (or so he says) and his now-wife Katherine.
- What Could Have Been: Apparently daydreams of his life with Hetty's mother instead, as his current wife angrily tells Hetty.
- Debut:Emerald Star
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Hetty's Veronica, to Jem as Archie.
- Country Mouse
- Girl Next Door
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
- Patient Childhood Love Interest: Waited years for Jem (even turning into a joke in the village; the subject of Janet/Jem/Hetty is particularly interesting amongst the village's Gossipy Hens as Hetty overhears some of it.)
- Never My Fault: He blames his daughter for his wife's death, even though he forced his daughter to perform for a crowd instead of going straight home with the medicine.