Lucy Character List

Lucy Josephine Potter

The protagonist, Lucy is a young woman from the West Indies who arrives in America to work as an au pair.

Lucy's mother

Although she appears only in Lucy's memories, her mother has a persistent presence. She continually influences Lucy's thoughts and actions. She also has three sons younger than Lucy.


A well-intentioned white woman, Mariah employs Lucy as an au pair for her four daughters. She also assumes a maternal role as Lucy adjusts to America.


Mariah's husband and a wealthy lawyer, Lewis has an affair with his wife's best friend and tears apart their formerly idyllic marriage.


Mariah's best friend and Lewis's lover, Dinah is also married. She is a suburban activist whom Lucy judges as ultimately envious and self-centered.


Lucy's favorite of the four children of Mariah, the young Miriam is particularly imaginative and clever.


Lucy's deviant best friend, Peggy is a young woman of Irish descent who works at the motor vehicle registry and eventually becomes Lucy's roommate.


Dinah's well-traveled 22-year-old brother, Hugh is Lucy's lover.


Lucy's boyfriend, Paul is an artist with whom Peggy eventually has an affair.


Gus is a longtime Swedish employee of Mariah's family at the lake house.

The Maid

The family's presumably African-American housekeeper, the maid has an antagonistic relationship with Lucy.

Maude Quick

Maude is a relative who tells Lucy of her stepfather's death and her family's subsequent descent into poverty.

Timothy Simon

Allowing Lucy to develop her photographs in his darkroom in her spare time, Timothy is a photographer who employs Lucy as a secretary after she leaves her position as au pair.


The young West Indian classmate whom Lucy French-kisses when she is 14, Tanner is an early part of Lucy's sexual awakening.

Mr. Thomas

A local fisherman on the island, Mr. Thomas molests Myrna.


A young and neglected girl, Myrna is molested by Mr. Thomas.


A young Caribbean immigrant whom Lucy meets at a store, Roland is the man whom Lucy sleeps with once before feeling guilty about cheating on her boyfriend Paul.

Mr. Josephine

An uncle from whom Lucy gains her middle name, Mr. Josephine is supposed to have great riches from sugar plantations in Cuba, but he dies penniless.