I had approximately twenty million things to get done this weekend, so what did I spent two hours doing? Casting my book. Yep. (I’m posting my results in a couple of installments since I am still stuck on a few characters, plus otherwise this would be a really long post.)
First: my hero. Nathaniel Arthur Delaval Ambrey, Viscount Nevinstoke (son and heir of the Earl of Bedlow). His friends call him “Nev,” and he’s a ne’er-do-well crossed with a geek (because I love geeks). He loves going to the theater and the opera, and he actually studied Latin at Cambridge in between wenching and gambling and all that.
He’s a nice guy, he’s just very young (23 years old) and has never really had to look out for anyone but himself. When his father dies, he finds the sudden responsibility for his family and estate a little overwhelming, but he wants very badly to live up to it. Penelope, the heroine, describes him like this:
There was, to be sure, nothing out of the common way about him. A perfectly ordinary-looking young man, Penelope insisted to herself. He was of middling height, his shoulders neither slim nor broad. His hands were not aristocratically slender–there was nothing to set them apart from the hands of any other gentleman of her acquaintance.
His hair was a little too long, and she thought its tousled appearance more the result of inattention than any attempt at fashion; it was neither dark nor fair, but merely brown–utterly nondescript save for a hint of cinnamon. His face too would have been unmemorable if it were not for a slight crookedness in his nose, suggesting it had been broken. His eyes were an ordinary blue, of an ordinary shape and size.
So why could she picture him so clearly, and why did the memory of his smile still make her feel–hot, and strange inside?
I think he looks like Adam Brody (only, of course, not Jewish and with a broken nose):
Now my heroine, Penelope Brown. Her parents were poor people who worked their way up to owning their own brewery and are now extremely rich. They sent her to a fancy finishing school that gave her a complex about being ladylike and sensible at all times, and she keeps trying to force herself into that mold even though it doesn’t always fit.
When Nev first meets her, he has this to say: “She was really very pretty, with fine dark eyes, a straight little nose, and a girlish mouth, thin and expressive. Her complexion, framed by straight dark hair, was almost translucent. He suspected she would freckle in the sun.” I think she looks a little like Molly Parker in this picture:
All I ever really say about Nev’s little sister Louisa’s appearance is that she’s seventeen, has the same color hair as him, and that she is extremely fond of elaborate bonnets. Bonnet humor, never not funny. Louisa can be a brat, but I like her a lot. She has reasons to be angry; her family life isn’t the greatest despite having an awesome older brother. I think this passage will give you a pretty good idea what she’s like:
“Remember Louisa’s sixth birthday?” Nev asked.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to be more precise,” Percy [Nev’s best friend since childhood] said.
“She’d been telling everyone in sight for months that she wanted a pirate sword, and–“
“Oh, Lord, and your father bought her that enormous doll in a pink satin dress. I never saw a child look more forlorn in her life.”
“He had no idea what was wrong.”
“I can picture that doll perfectly to this day.” Percy smiled reminiscently. “As I recall, I was betrothed to it for a time. Louisa used to commandeer its ship as it sailed to England to be my bride, and I had to duel her for it.”
I think she looks like April Matson (the hair color is exactly right too):
Nev’s mistress, Amy, is a talented actress (did I mention he loves the theater?). She’s small and slender and has a tendency to freckle, like Penelope–Nev has a type. This description of her is from the scene where Nev has gotten engaged to Penelope and has to break up with her:
“He looked at her, but he didn’t see her brown eyes or the mischievous tilt of her mouth or even the small, creamy breasts that curved into the clean white muslin of her frock. He didn’t remember the year of laughter and sex and casual affection they had shared. He looked at Amy and all he could see was the thousands of pounds she had cost.”
She has blond, curly hair, and I think she looks a little like Lindy Booth:
And finally, at the beginning of the story, before she gets engaged to Nev, Penelope is informally engaged to her best friend, Edward Macaulay. Mr. and Mrs. Brown don’t approve for various reasons, including but not limited to: 1) Edward used to work at Brown Jug Breweries, but he left to work for a northern industrialist, which is much lower status than brewing, 2) he once got drunk and embarrassed himself at a Brown Jug Christmas party, 3) he’s Catholic, and 4) they think that Penelope is not really in love with him–which she isn’t. Nev describes him like this:
“Edward Macaulay had a broad, sensible, Scottish face, and broad, sensible, Scottish shoulders. His sandy hair was kept unfashionably short and brushed carefully back from his forehead, even though it was clear that had he allowed it to grow, it would have curled riotously in the best modern style without any prompting. He looked like a steady, dependable man, and Nev hated him on sight.”
I imagine him as looking a bit like a younger version of Nicholas Lea–that same round face, bland coloring, and tendency to frown, but with some kind of indefinable charisma going on behind it.
And that’s it for installment one! Next week we have Nev’s best friends, Nev and Penelope’s parents, and of course, the villain.