I was interested in creating a heroine who had strength of character but was confined by the female role, and the ‘lady’s’ role too, of the late eighteenth century.
Of course, in that period a nicely brought up girl from the middle classes – Sophie’ s have’ gone down in the world’ – had a dismally limited choice regarding what to do in life.
Thse were: –
Get married, be a dependent- either on a brother (as she formerly was with her older brother John, until his wife decided to get rid of her) or another relative (Sophie is companion to her distant relative Lady Llewellyn) or become a governess – a fate generally regarded as miserable, and one dreaded by Jane Austen’s unmarried women.
Sophie, like most sensible girls, would rather avoid being a powerless dependant all her life, and having no mother living to look out for a good match for her, looks out for one herself.
She even dreams a bit about bringing Lord Ynyr to propose. But she still remains a romantic at heart, and she realises that even were she able to get the young Count to set aside his notions of ‘duty to his family in making a suitable match’ (and her rival Morwenna’s charms) he doesn’t exactly excite her…