The Bartlettes are extended family to the Stewards in my WW1 Trilogy. The trilogy is comprised of Angel of Mercy (released in 2019), Those Left Behind (released 2020) and Adjustment Year (released April 2021).
Here are the six members of the Bartlette family:
“You don’t know how difficult it is,” Amelia said between sobs, “to find yourself in this situation. Your children are perfect.”
Amelia has been friends with Lucretia Steward since they met in grade one. At that time, the women had a similar upbringing, but industrialization made one family prosper and one regress. She was optimistic as a young woman, but now is perpetually in mourning, anxious and fearful.
Amelia wears nothing but black and has been in perpetual mourning since her husband, Gordon, died in 1906. She comes to believe she is cursed, and this puts a rift in what was once a strong friendship.
Amelia’s dead husband, his influence still can be felt even though it has been more than decade since his passing.
He shrugged. “Believe me, I’d rather be busy.”
The eldest surviving child, he lives with his mother. He burned his hands severely during an accident while working for the railroad. His injury inspired Hettie to become a nurse.
While his hands are scarred for life, it is unclear whether his physically or psychological wounds are worse. He often walks to relieve his born.
Gilbert was born in 1886.
Caroline looked confused, defiant even. “So does that pardon her to say anything that comes to mind?”
Perhaps the most stable Bartlette son, Teddy is a carpenter who is married to Caroline.
The two characters appear only sporadically in Angel of Mercy and Those Left Behind. Teddy is berated by Amelia for being unable to produce grandchild and also paid for his sister Maeve’s wedding. Caroline is forever mystified by her mother-in-law Amelia and her need to say things that are cruel.
“But it is my fault,” he said, his voice raising. “I wanted to be more than an uneducated clerk. In Barrie, that’s all I would ever be or could ever hope to be. By becoming a soldier I could reinvent myself. I could become important and valuable.”
Geoffrey Bartlette is a minor character in the WW1 Trilogy. Born in 1890, Geoffrey was forced to quit school before he wanted to help support his family and sometimes feel inadequate compared to his better educated fiancée/wife Hettie.
As a young man, he found work as a clerk in a law office, but feels some humiliation because the position was previously held by a woman. Geoffrey is at first noncommittal when the Great War begins, but soon begins to view it as an opportunity to better his lot in life. He decides to enlist and prove he can amount to something.
As the war drags on, going beyond the date everyone was convinced it would finish, Geoffrey beings to regret his decision. It’s a decision that will have tragic consequences.
Victor stood and puffed his chest. “You’ve already forgotten him. He cared about you more than anything and you’ve forgotten him. If you were a dutiful wife, you’d be with him now.”
An employee at a grocery before the war, Victor idolized his older brother Geoffrey as a boy. He also was friends with Freddie Steward until the two had a falling out in early adulthood.
Victor often drinks heavily and is easily influenced by others.
She enlists in early 1915 and sees combat. Eventually, he is hospitalized for shell shock and sent home. After his arrival, Amelia has him committed.
Maeve squeezed Tommy’s hand as the pair sat together in the Stewards’ back garden taking in the late summer sun. “I’m happy I’m joining your family. It’s always peaceful here.”
Maeve, born in 1896, is the Barlette family’s only surviving daughter, and the only person to graduate from high school. She is actively courted by Tommy Steward and has a bubbly and happy personality.
Her life, however, is tragically short. In 1918, while pregnant, she contracts Spanish Flu and dies.