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The Martha Years - Characters

Martha Morse

Laura's great grandmother and the daughter of a Scottish laird.

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: In Grisie's eyes at least, though her brothers find her more fun.
  • Book Worm: Thanks to Miss Crow's influence.
  • Constantly Curious: About everything from wool dyeing to America. A large reason Martha disliked Miss Norrie was because she disapproved of Martha's curiosity and told her to stay quiet, while Miss Crow happily provided explanations and stories.
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  • Country Mouse: When visiting Perth, inverted when Rachel and Mary move to Glen Caraid and can't keep up with her energetic lifestyle.
  • Determinator: Big time. At the end of Down to the Bonny Glen she runs over three miles to get help for a sick tenant and her parents can't believe she made it it such quick time.
  • Fiery Red Head: In spades, despite trying to tame her temper.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Hits this at the end of the series. Her parents, Cook and Miss Crow are very loving but Grisie has married, her brothers are away at school and all of the tenant and village children she's friends with have started working to support their families leaving her alone.
  • The Klutz: Much to her chagrin.
  • Messy Hair: Try as she might, Martha's curls will not stay tidy.
    "Mum said the ribbon hadn't been invented yet that could bind Martha's thick hair."
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  • Miss Imagination: Loves making up stories and schemes - even if she gets a bit carried away. (Like persuading her cousins to sneak outside in the dead of night and eat fern seeds to turn themselves invisible).
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Is increasingly frustrated that she's forced to stay inside instead of being out exploring the Scottish highlands.
  • Pint Sized Power House: One of the strongest and most energetic children in the valley, to the point of almost beating Lew - the blacksmith's son - in a footrace.
  • Plucky Girl: Gutsy, outspoken and adventurous - much like a certain great-granddaughter of hers.
  • Quirky Curls: Has wild curly hair that's hard to brush and a fiery personality.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Martha does not appreciate being told what to do.
  • Spoiled Sweet: She's extremely down to earth and friendly considering her status, and loves spending time helping out and working with the tenant farmers despite disapproval. When she first leaves Glencaraid she's realizes she's not the lairds daughter but a laird's daughter - and immediately berates herself for thinking too highly of herself.
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  • Tomboy: Loves playing with the boys and is utterly uninterested in keeping her clothes clean or hair tidy. This carries into the next series when she tells Lew buying a fine dress would be wasted on her "common chicken feathers".
  • Uptown Girl: For Lew, as Martha is the daughter of a landowner and he's working class. Although their romance happens off-page between the two series the obstacles to them marrying are hinted at throughout the series.

Allan Morse (Father) and Margaret Morse (Mum)

Martha's parents.

  • Benevolent Boss: Allan is the laird of Glencaraid and treats his tenants well, to the point of walking out on some important guests without hesitation when one of the farmer's wives is ill. Margaret is a kind and friendly mistress concerning all the servants.
  • Good Parents: They're understanding and fair with Martha, especially considering the time period.
  • Happily Married: They're both unhappy when the other goes away in the second book.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Notably kind and familiar with their servants - something Martha discovers is not the norm.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Allan is involved in the day to day affairs of Glencaraid and helping the tenants, while Margaret is active running the household.
  • The Patriarch: Allan of the Morse household and of the whole of valley as the laird.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Allan takes his responsibilities as laird very seriously and is popular among the villagers and farmers.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Martha observes that her mother lightens up her sterner father.
  • The Stoic: Allan can be rather serious and brooding.

Grisie Morse

Martha's beautiful older sister. She starts off as rather distant but grows closer to Martha as the series continues.

  • Aloof Big Sister: Frequently irritated and impatient with Martha.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: In early books at least - she relaxes after marrying Kenneth.
  • Dude Magnet: Men are described as flocking around her "like moths to a flame" and she's noticeably more popular than her female cousins of the same age.
  • Girly Girl: Unlike Tomboy Martha, Grisie enjoys needlework, sketching and dancing.
  • Happily Married: To Kenneth by the fourth book.
  • Regal Ringlets: Has perfect spirals compared to Martha's wild curls.
    "She had the kind of hair that stayed coiled smooth and neat even when the wind gusted."

Alisdair, Robbie and Duncan Morse

Martha's three older brothers.

  • Book Worm: Alisdair, who is always off reading and later decides he wants to be a lawyer.
  • Fiery Red Head: Robbie.
  • Freudian Trio: Scholarly Alistair is the Superego, mischievous Robbie is the Id and thoughtful Duncan is the Ego.
  • Hot-Blooded: Robbie, something he has in common with his younger sister.
  • Nice Guy: Duncan is Martha's favourite brother and the sweetest of the three.


The Morse's cook at the Stone House.

  • Apron Matron: The kitchen is her domain and she rules it proudly.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Martha is amazed to discover Cook's real name is actually "Margery Ann" as no one but Auld Mary refers to her as anything but Cook.
  • Genre Savvy: She notes Martha and Grisie are similar in both wanting to be somewhere else, (Martha to be out with the farmers, Grisie to go away to boarding school) even if the nature of their wishes are different. She's also the only one to pick up on Martha and Lew's friendship and comments how much Lew would do for Martha.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: "Margery Ann" apparently had a lot of suitors back in the day much to Martha's amusement.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Comes across as terse and gruff, but is a softie underneath it all and adores Martha. She also dotes on "Hedgie", the kitchen hedgehog despite complaining about him constantly.
  • Mama Bear: Rather protective of Martha, including disliking how Miss Norrie her first governess treated her and getting emotional when Martha pretends to die while acting out Romeo and Juliet.
  • Old Maid: By choice she'll have you know!
  • Old Retainer: She's been in the household since before the Morse children were born and Martha in particular is very close to her.
  • Supreme Chef: Acknowledged as the best cook in all of Glencaraid even if she doesn't make the fancy food they serve at Fairlie.

Miss Crow

Martha's governess who arrives in the third book.

  • Book Worm: Her belongings on arrival consist almost entirely of books.
  • Brainy Brunette: Proves to be a capable governess in all areas including literature, geography, needlework and composition.
  • Cool Teacher: Much to Martha's delight she makes learning interesting, including encouraging her to write her own letters not just copying out words, acting out plays and telling stories about far-off America.
  • Outdoorsy Gal: In a more adult, lady-like way than Martha. Her first comment is that the views from the Stone House alone are almost enough to live on and she incorporates walking and exercise into her teaching.

Lewis Tucker

The son of the local blacksmith and Martha's future husband.

  • Amazon Chaser: It's hinted that his feelings for Martha were developing along these lines. In the third book Martha challenges him to a footrace - he's widely known for being the fastest runner in the valley - and Lew is impressed and complimentary when she almost beats him. In the sequel series, he's fond of how feisty and opinionated she can be.
  • The Blacksmith: In training.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has a dry sense of humour and happily teases Martha on several occasions.
  • Determinator: Enough to match Martha seemingly. Between this series and the next he dared to fall in love with - and marry - the laird's daughter, make the dangerous journey to America and set up a new life and business in Boston.
  • I Can't Believe A Girl Like You Would Notice Me: In the sequel series he admitted he felt like this regarding Martha, as he developed feelings early on but never considered courting her due to their difference in station.
    Lew: "Us lads in the village used to jump at any chance to run errands for our fathers on her side o' the loch. Not a one of us ivver dreamt o' marryin' her though."
  • Inter-Class Romance: With Martha between the two series. Although he's a skilled blacksmith, Martha is the daughter of a laird and far wealthier and better educated than him. The books make it clear she's expected to marry another member of the elite, land-owning class like her father and Grisie's husband. The difficulties in courting her are foreshadowed as early as the second book in Auld Mary's tale about the Laird's Lass who refused to marry an Earl and went for a blacksmith instead.
  • Nice Guy: Martha thinks highly of him throughout the series and is proved right with him helping bring over a pet hedgehog, teasing her about her marriage plans and helping her when she's trapped in bed.
    "Martha had no doubt he'd do as she asked. Lew Tucker was the type of boy who'd walk through the tempest to help a friend."
  • The Quiet One: Along with his whole family. A local joke is that if two Tucker's speak on the same day the world will come to an end.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Described as a lean, dark-haired boy.

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