Today I'm continuing the showcase of short character introductions leading up to the release of my new series The Book Club Belles Society.
Miss Catherine Penny is the elder sister of Justina (my heroine in BEFORE THE KISS and ONCE UPON A KISS). She is the quiet, demure, well-behaved sister and she is also widely acknowledged as "the pretty one". Cathy is the sister upon which all hopes rest.
As Justina says, her sister "could wear a grain sack and still be the prettiest girl in Hawcombe Prior", but she also realizes it's not all smooth sailing for her sister. In fact, Justina feels sympathy for "poor" Cathy.
"It must be hard, thought Justina, to possess such beauty, for with it came not only great expectations, but the terrible responsibility of maintaining it.
How glad she was that such a burden would never be hers. "
Cathy takes her responsibility of being the one daughter expected to make a good marriage very seriously. She's a bit of a worrier and her nerves sometimes get the better of her. For instance, a family trip to Bath, which occurs in BEFORE THE KISS, is sent into chaos when poor Cathy becomes afflicted by an embarrassing nervous rash. She knows the trip is mostly about getting her a husband— her mother's high expectations are by no means subtle!— and the pressure is on. But Cathy is too shy to compete with some of the brazen young ladies of Bath. She's no flirt and her fashions belong to the small world of Hawcombe Prior, not to promenades along the Crescent.
It's not long before Cathy is longing for home again, and her familiar, peaceful life among friends.
Cathy's unfortunate rash, however, is not enough to make their mother give up on the plan of exhibiting her daughter in as many public places as possible. So, on their last evening in Bath, Cathy is covered in a hastily made up powder and forced out to a ball at the Upper Rooms, chaperoned by her aunt. There she meets a very pleasant gentleman named Mr. Forester and he does not seem to notice the rash or the equally unsightly powder used to mask it. They share a dance, but do not get to complete their set, for sudden havoc is caused by her younger sister Jussy, a mouse, a little too much wine, and a certain stained waistcoat belonging to Mr. Forester's haughty friend.
Although she met him only briefly, and their dance was ended so abruptly, Cathy's impression of Mr. Forester is favorable and lasting. Sadly she is due to leave Bath the very next morning and it seems unlikely she will ever meet him again.
Unless fate— in the shape of his stern-faced, rather terrifying friend— steps in and brings gentle, sweet-natured Mr. Forester all the way to Hawcombe Prior.
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You can find more about Cathy and her sister in BEFORE THE KISS - a FREE e-book novella out on May 6th to introduce the Book Club Belles Society.