This was Jane Austen talking about Emma – and I freely admit my debt to Emma in writing my Mary Bennet novel.
There are some notable differences: Emma is handsome, clever, rich and of a happy disposition, while Mary is plain, basically quite stupid, poor, and with a rather sour and prissy disposition, certainly nothing happy about her.
And yet, as with Emma, you can’t help but identify with her. What’s attractive to me about both heroines is first of all their flaws, which make them human – and following that, how they change. With Emma, I do wonder how much she can change in truth, and with Mary even more so.