Our little hero, our not particularly brave, not at all fearless, self-doubting, smart, often puzzled and sometime outraged hero. Age 12, when we meet her.
Eva’s mother. A good-looking waitress in a small town, who fell in love, and opportunity when a dashing English professor stopped for a cup of coffee at the only restaurant with tablecloths. They settled down together, with baby Eva—on Sundays and Thursdays.
That dashing English professor, in town for mysterious purposes, leaving his lovely wife, Charlotte and his 5 year old daughter, Iris, at home, in leafy, lovely Windsor, Ohio, home of Windsor College.
A teenage girl who never had an awkward phase, Iris is the star of Cuyahoga County, prettier than most, more ambitious than any.
Hollywood landlady, handyman and survivor of two pogroms. A realist, with optimistic features.
Make-up man and confidante for Hollywood’s stars. Also, a big brother, an imaginative liar and a man you can count on.
Francisco’s younger sisters, co-owners of La Bella Donna, the best salon in East Brooklyn. Believers in attainable beauty and common sense.
Joe, Anna, Mary and Catherine, Joey and Baby Paulie, plus the 26 cousins. Having helped his father sell vegetables from a cart, Joe Torelli is on his way to an empire of grocery stores, from Queens to Great Neck, to midtown Manhattan. Their family is solid, content in a small world and fully aware of their good fortune.
Sophia Loren, without the glamour, Reenie is a beautiful domestic goddess, longing for children and hoping for passion, although she doesn’t know it.
Another hero. A man’s man, who likes women. When life turns him upside-down and worse, he holds on. (His motto: Finish strong.)
An orphan, whose real name we never learn. Like most of us, life and love will invent and re-invent him. Age 5, when we meet him.
Nightclub singer and the love of Edgar Acton’s life. Elegantly sexy like Lena Horne, despite her vitiligo, with a voice that swings, she just misses making it big. A strong presence and no one’s fool.
Danny’s best friend and navigator of school and life’s conventions.