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I am going to start today's post off with characters from children's books because they immediately came to mind. We'll see what else develops from there.
Nellie Oleson from the Little House books.
Though she was featured in more than one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic children's novels, Nellie Oleson was first introduced in On the Banks of Plum Creek. She is the storekeeper's daughter and teases Laura and her sister Mary for being county girls. I simply can't imagine the Little House series without Nellie Oleson.
Josie Pye from Anne of Green Gables
Like Nellie Oleson, Josie Pye is remembered for how rotten she is to the main character of the story, in this case, orphan Anne Shirley, who is accidentally sent to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, an elderly brother and sister who requested an orphan boy to help them run their farm, Green Gables. Josie is mean, vain, and extremely jealous of how much attention Gilbert Blythe pays to Anne.
Templeton from Charlotte's Web
Even the name of the girl in Charlotte's Web escaped me for a moment--it is Fern--but I can't seem to get that gluttonous, self-serving rat, Templeton out of mind. He's a character that is easy to dislike. He only does things for others when he can get something out of it. He's quite a crank. But he is definitely unforgettable.
Colonel Guillermo Paz from Strong Rain Falling
When I interviewed author Jon Land about this book, he said his favorite character was Colonel Guillermo Paz. He's mine, too. He's a fascinating character. Once sent to eliminate Caitlin Strong, he is now her protector. More than once in this novel he saved Caitlin and her family. It's also interesting witnessing his conversations with priests and college professors.
Beulah from Reconstructing Jackson
Mr. Foley from Unexpected Christmas Hero
This is one of my favorite books by Kathi Macias because it tests what we think we know about homeless people. It's also touching that it takes place at Christmas time.
Mr. Foley works at the homeless shelter where Josie, her children, and a Vietnam veteran they meet spend some time. He is memorable for how he acts toward them--especially the children--but also because of what happens to him in the story.
Nick Two John from the Deputy Tempe Crabtree Series
One of the things Marilyn Meredith does so well in both of her series is create characters you truly care about. Through the numerous books of this mystery series, Nick Two John has appeared wise, yet frustrating. He has helped Tempe discover her Native American roots and tap into their mysticism, but he also talks in roundabout ways that leave Tempe wishing he would just come out and say what he means. Nick Two John runs the Bear Creek Inn with his significant other, and I love it when Tempe and her husband Hutch stop by to visit them. A Tempe Crabtree book wouldn't be the same without Nick Two John.
Finnick Odair from Catching Fire and Mockingjay
Finnick Ordair is both funny and unusual. Winning the 65th Hunger Games at the age of 14, he has extraordinary physical skill and is popular with the people in the Capitol. He is forced into prostitution by President Snow until he is reaped into the third Quarter Quell, where he forms an alliance with Peeta and Katniss, along with several others. The most memorable thing about Finnick is that he is so much more than he appears.
Peregrine is an orphaned stable boy who brings back memories of his youth for Brendan Prescott. Prescott is the main character of this series. He takes quite a shine to the boy and I have to admit he became one of my favorite characters, too. The second book in this series was recently released. I'm not sure if we'll see Peregrine again, but I hope so.
Jake Witherspoon from The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate and
Up the Devil's Belly
I'll admit I'm cheating a bit with this last one. Jake is actually a significant character in The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate. His flamboyant homosexuality makes him the target of a hate crime. He is kidnapped and severely beaten. In the second book of this series, Up the Devil's Belly, Jake and his friends have transformed the Witherspoon Mansion into an upscale day spa. It's kind of hard to find a secondary character in this series because the author takes a community approach to the novel. But I loved Jake's character and felt he was worthy of mention here.