Favorite Fictional Characters, #366: Hope Worth
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
When I undertook this project a year ago, I really wasn't sure where it would take me. There were days it was a lot of fun and days it felt like work. I made entries at home (two different ones), and on my phone at the lake in New Hampshire, and in Orlando and Oregon on vacations. When it started, none of us knew just how challenging a year 2016 would be. But we made it through, at least most of us did, and here we are at the brink of a new year full of new projects, new opportunities, and, dare I say it, new hope.
It feels right to use my final entry on one of my own characters. My most recent book, Lost Harvest, is the first volume in a trilogy intended to reimagine the classic Mutiny on the Bounty story as a science fiction tale, set in an alternate future where the British Empire never crumbled, but instead became a global and galactic power. Some characters are adaptations from the original - my Captain William Pearce, for example, shares many qualities with the iconic William Bligh. Fletcher Christian, the tortured first mate who led the historic mutiny, has become (with some gender-bending) Christine Fletcher. There are other examples - noble patron Joseph Banks has become Lord John Banks, and legendary seaman James Cook becomes legendary star-mariner Jane Baker. Beyond that, the characters are mine, though some may borrow qualities from the crew of the Bounty. I thought about including Sir Eustace Green, the enthusiastic aging botanist from the Royal Gardens at Kew. About Orpheus Crutchfield, the hulking Marine sergeant, or others from among the crew of the HMSS Harvest. But in the end, my favorite is Midshipman Hope Worth.
Worth is a young woman, maybe twenty-three, a new graduate from the Greenwich Naval College. She's short and slim with red-brown hair and a quiet, determined personality. Her father is Sam Worth, one of the most successful and famous captains in His Majesty's Royal Navy, and she labors desperately to live up to his imposing legacy. It's a rocky beginning for Worth, as she struggles to exert authority over the rough-and-tumble belowdecks crew. She's a junior officer, but one Captain Pearce comes to count on as her abilities begin to emerge. There's so much more I want to say about her, but we're only one book into a three-book arc, and some of the greatest aspects of her character are still to be revealed. Suffice it to say that she confronts some hard choices, some crippling losses, and will need all her talents and strength to survive.
I've saved Hope Worth for this last entry of the year because, like the rest of us, her story is still unfolding. Much of it remains to be written. The things she'll have to face will test her. They will leave scars. But I think she's tough enough. No matter how dark the moment may seem, a dawn is always coming. Like us, I'm hopeful she'll not just endure to see it, but lend a hand in hastening its coming. In the end, I leave you with Hope.