Title: Who Will Make Your Path Strait?
Author: Myra Frances Johnston
Genre: Historical Novel
Audience: Young Adult
List the characters in the story and give a thorough description of each one. Consider physical, emotional, relational, social status, and occupational characteristics.
Ella Middleton is a young lady who is the same age as queen Victoria. The story takes place during Victoria’s early reign. Therefore Ella constantly battles with society comparing her to the queen. Ella is tall and slender, but very strong. She has long blond hair. She works a dressmaker living with her mother, a few cousins, and several other girls who work in the dress shop. Her father is deceased. Her mother has been attempting to have her married off to a wealthy man in the working class, hoping to raise their social status, but Ella would like to wait for true love, instead of marry a rich idiot. Ella is strong willed and independent. She always dresses well, and insists on doing things by herself. However, to spite her independence and refusal to marry the suitors her mother brings her, Ella is very lonely and is longing to find good friends, and true love.
Mrs. Jeannette Middleton is an older woman who is a widow. She has worked as a dressmaker her whole life, and is mostly in charge of selling products. She has arthritis, which keeps her from sewing, and she has passed the active part of the work to her daughter Ella. She is portly, but dresses well. She is a gossip and is driven to rise in society.
Sandy is a boy in the working class who sells cloth. He grew up working in a factory because his parents were very poor. They are now elderly and he sends any money he can spare to take care of their health. He is kind, cheerful, adventurous and outgoing. He is muscular but skinny and medium height. He has brown hair and blue eyes and is always smiling.
Juliet is a member of high cast society. Her father is in the house of Lords and the family has a large amount of money. She has three older brothers but no sisters. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is shy, gentle in spirit, and soft spoken.
Fredrick Davis is the owner of a cotton textile mill in London. He has met a good deal of success in his business and for a member of the working class, is rather wealthy. He is handsome, tall, strong, and well dressed. He has dark blue eyes and brown hair.
Point of View
Ella tells the story from first person, somewhat like journal entries. She is explaining her view of life, and the things she struggles with.
This story takes place in Victorian England during the early years of Victoria’s reign. Most of it takes place in the dress shop where Ella works, although she ventures out to other parts of London.
This story is about Ella’s character developing through her young adult life. She fights to hold her moral standards in business and relationships. Through the course of business and social events she must learn when to rely on others and when to rely on herself.
Ella struggles against society, therefore, man vs. man, as well as with her mother in particular. She also struggles against her own will. Because her mother is not a wise woman, she must rely on herself and find someone else whom she can rely on. She therefore struggles within herself over pride. In the final confrontation she struggles with her suitor Fredrick.
Hold fast to your moral high ground and do not let the pressures of life and society cause you to cave in.
Persevere in your dreams and your calling. God will provide what is ultimately necessary.
Foil: Queen Victoria, though never directly appearing in the story is constantly eluded to by Ella’s surrounding society. Because Ella and the queen are exactly the same age, they are constantly compared.
Conflict: Ella and her mother disagree over various forms of business, over moral standards such as gossiping, which Ella looks down on, and over choices for husbands.
Point of View: Ella is telling the whole story as her own memory as an expose on her character development through the course of these events.
Plot: This story will be a slow plot unfolding because it is seen from Ella’s eyes alone. She does not know where the story is going and is constantly wondering.
This story has been one that really touched me and helped me to sort through a lot of struggles in my own life. Ella has such a real character. It’s so helpful to read a story where the main character is actually deciding between right and wrong, talking about it, sorting through it, instead of just doing things that are always portrayed as right. This story is really inspiring to me to overcome petty things in society, and yet at the same time to not merely rely on self. It was also a really enjoyable trip into the past to imagine what it must have been like to live during Victoria’s reign.