Wideacre - Characters


Beatrice Lacey: Daughter of the Squire of Wideacre and sister to Harry Lacey. She is considered by the villagers as the true master of Wideacre after her father's death. Unable to retain Wideacre, Beatrice stops at nothing to achieve her goal of staying on the land forever, even going as far as to committing incest and murder. As a teenager, she falls in love with Ralph and remains in love with him, despite her affair with Harry and her marriage to John. With Harry, she gives birth to a daughter, Julia, and a son, Richard. Her affair with Harry is purely out of greed and passion for the land, and her marriage with John deteriorates when he learns about her secrets. Her attempts to gain the land cause it to go bankrupt and ruined. At the end of the novel, she is remorseful of her actions and dies at Ralph's hands, knowing only he can end her sinful legacy.

Harry Lacey: Beatrice's older brother who is the new Squire of Wideacre. He is easily seduced by Beatrice, even though he knows what they're doing is wrong. Unlike the headstrong and stubborn Beatrice, Harry is timid and weak. He is also very dense, even though he was sent away to a private school for lessons. He is sexually attracted to Beatrice and has a sexual relationship with her throughout the novel, resulting in the birth of two children, Julia and Richard. He marries Celia, whom he grows to love and respect, and raises Julia without knowing she (and Richard) are his imbred offspring with Beatrice. He has a weak heart, which he dies from at the end.

Ralph Megson: The gamekeeper's son who falls in love with Beatrice. Together they plot to seize Wideacre for themselves. Their plan does not come into fruition, however, because Beatrice turns on Ralph and attempts to murder him. He later returns as 'The Culler' who revolts against the Quality. He kills Beatrice at the end of Wideacre, but stays by the land to help watch over Julia and Richard in The Favored Child. He kills Richard at the end of The Favored Child.

Dr. John MacAndrew: A bright and quick witted doctor from Edinburgh, Scotland who falls in love with and marries Beatrice. They become estranged after he discovers the truth about Beatrice and Harry's incestuous relationship, as well as Beatrice's murderous attempts to give the land to her children. To get revenge against her and save the children, he later starts plotting their downfall. He eventually falls in love with Celia, though they do not have an affair. At the end of the novel, they leave the house together. He travels to India in order to earn more money for the family and comes back to raise the children with Celia in The Favored Child. He is murdered by Richard.

Celia Lacey: Harry's wife, who later becomes the moral force for good against Beatrice's manipulative schemes. Her marriage to Harry is arranged, but she grows to love him for his gentleness. She is thrilled to accept Julia as her own daughter, as it is later discovered that she is unable to have children. When she becomes estranged from Harry, she falls in love with John, with whom she leaves with and raises the children until they are murdered by Richard in The Favored Child.

Julia Lacey: Daughter of Beatrice and Harry. She is raised by John and Celia. She becomes the protagonist of The Favored Child and is often a victim of Richard's manipulation and bullying. While less timid and naive than Harry, her insecurity and upbringing cause her to accept Richard's abuse. Though she tries to escape by attempting to marry the man she loves, Richard rapes her to prevent this. She later discovers that she is pregnant by the encounter and is forced to marry him to fulfill their mother's wish of them inheriting the land together. She gives birth to a girl, whom she names Sarah, and gives her away to Gypsies before dying of a fever caused by the childbirth.

Richard MacAndrew: Son of Beatrice and Harry. He is passed off as John's son by Beatrice. He becomes the antagonist of The Favored Child. Although he and Julia are close as children, he bullies her and eventually rapes her to punish her for betraying him. He forces her to marry him when he learns of her pregnancy so they can inherit the land together. He is killed by Ralph at the end to stop him from fulfilling his mother's goal. Unlike Beatrice, who did feel remorse over some of her actions, Richard feels no guilt about his crimes and willingly admits them to Julia. There are hints throughout the novel that Richard may be a sociopath.

Sarah Lacey (AKA Meridon): Daughter of Julia and Richard; thus the granddaughter of Beatrice and Harry. Raised by a gypsy family, she returns to Wideacre after the death of her adopted sister (when it has become a prototype commune). She tries to become a lady in order to leave behind her painful past, but cannot reconcile the two worlds in her head. At the end of Meridon, she leaves her husband and decides to give the Wideacre estate to the trust in perpetuity, abandoning her birth name and the (unknown) horrific legacy of her family. She never learns that her parents and grandparents were brothers and sisters.

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