Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell and Co.

As most of you know (I suddenly realized that I start a good deal of blog posts with that statement.  Good heavens, I need to give you some new information!), The Replacement Relatives is set at the Christmas after the World War I Armistice.  Soldiers are coming home, and Mrs. Flavingswell, our capricious, inconsistent, and eccentric leading lady, is in denial that her son, Edward, is not going to be coming back with the others.

Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell, the heroine of our story
Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell
Mrs. Flavingswell is a pretty fun person to be around when she's in a good mood.  She's a soft heart, really, but she's not afraid to say exactly what she thinks when she gets angry, which is basically any time Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell, First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce's wife, is in the close vicinity.  Mrs. Sylvia is both similar to and different from Mrs. Mabel.  Their chief difference lies in the fact that Mrs. Mabel has a sense of humor and Mrs. Sylvia doesn't.  Other than that, though, they're both capricious, strong-minded women who have pretty deep-running feelings.

One of my chief points in the story is the introduction of Hamilton Claymore, a recently discharged soldier.  I initially debated actually putting him into the story, because there is something kind of trite about the "mysterious stranger showing up on Christmas Eve" that I want to avoid.  Claymore, for your information, shows up on Christmas Eve Eve, but he could still seem . . . same-y.  In order to avoid that, I let Bruce Flavingswell suspect him of being a con artist.  That put in a lot of extra conflict that I wasn't going to have originally, as the entire household tries to keep him away from Mrs. Flavingswell so that he can't con her out of her money.  Claymore actually came for the express purpose of giving Mrs. Flavingswell a private message from her son, so naturally he's trying to get her alone while everyone else is trying to keep him from getting her alone.  In this way I try to keep Claymore from becoming that character.  Who wants to read about a character that is exactly like fifty-seven other characters that he has already read?

Claymore is going to be bothersome.  I can already see that.  First of all, he's a young, unmarried man, which I didn't have before.  I originally added him into the mix to heighten the situational comedy that I was going for anyway.  Now it looks like he could be the one and only love interest to our clumsy oaf of Mrs. Flavingswell's companion, Bianca Quettle.  Poor Bianca has had a difficult life, and she gets saddled with the undesirable task of keeping four snow-bound children out of trouble, making her life even more difficult.

I need some help for Bianca.  Would you personally rather read this story if she and Claymore fell in love or if they stayed sane and healthy?  What would be better for the comedy?  Feel free to express your opinions with gusto in the comments below.
Snow, snow, snow!
Snow for Christmas
As for the children, I've been working on their relationships to the grown-ups.  Bianca gets stuck with them, and she definitely has a favorite in Solomon Spencer, the shy middle child of the Spencer siblings.  Her least favorite is Edgar Flavingswell, a brat plain and simple.  Anne and Carl Spencer, the eldest and youngest of the Spencer children, take it upon themselves to make Edgar's life miserable.  Bianca, of course, has to keep the parents from finding out, because she's afraid they'll blame her for everything that goes wrong.  In Mrs. Sylvia's case she's completely right.

Mrs. Flavingswell feels a sentimental, benevolent sort of tie to the children.  She's happy to have them in the house at Christmastime, because it takes her back to the years when her own son was young and there were many children in the house all the time.  She has all sorts of things for them to do, from making fudge to singing for her.  Both of those activities go terribly awry, but Mrs. Flavingswell turns a blind eye to the children's faults, partly because she is so taken up with the adults' faults.

I don't go much into the parent-children relationships.  The parents mostly leave their children alone, trusting to Bianca as a sort of nurse-maid while they enjoy themselves.  This is partly because I don't want to make things too complicated and partly because I want Bianca to have a lot of troubles with the children.

As for Claymore, he actually attracts the children.  I'm sort of basing this on my oldest younger brother, who happens to love little kids and always hits it off well with them.  Bianca is frustrated, because she doesn't trust Claymore, thinking him to be a con man, but she wants to keep the children placated so that she doesn't get into trouble.

So, this sounds like a lot of fluff, you say.  Don't worry!  There is a theme underneath this comedy as Mrs. Flavingswell starts to realize that the replacements she's brought in for her relatives are really not so very different from the relatives themselves.  Her problem is not with her relatives, but in the way she views people in general.  Also, she has to learn to let go of the past and learn to enjoy the present, which is pretty hard to do when you have four mischievous kids trying to amuse themselves while snowed into your house that seems to grow smaller by the minute.

Yes, I'm only slightly obsessed with this at the moment.  Hopefully I'll be posting some snippets soon, although as my choir has a concert next week and tour starting the week after that, I'm sure that my posting will be sporadic, at best.

Don't forget that Christmas at the Tittletons is on sale here right now.  You should go check it out, because it will make a good Christmas gift for any of your friends and family who love to read.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,


  1. This certainly sounds intriguing, and to weigh in on the Bianca/Claymore question, if it's comedy you're after, throwing in romance can only help. Don't make too huge of a deal about it, but maybe the kids could be the matchmakers? That could get pretty interesting.

  2. As for the romance, (and hi, hello, I'm a new commenter round these parts) think of it logically. Claymore is no doubt a rather good looking young gentleman. *ahem* a Soldier at that. And especially for our Miss Quettle, who doesn't appear to have many eligible men in her life, it definitely seems that she would find herself attracted to Claymore.

    Of course, this throws in twists that can definitely be comical. Does Claymore like her back? Or does he have some other sweetheart back...wherever he's from? Does anybody else notice Bianca's infatuation? Like Kendra said, are the children the matchmakers? Or the matchbreakers?

    Anyway, this story seems like a lot of fun. :-)


Thanks for your comments! I love comments! Thrive on them, actually! Please just remember to keep them clean. I don't care if you make them long. The longer, the better, in fact! I really appreciate it when you take the time to tell me what you think.