Character development is all the rage. The reason is that characters are a reader’s pathway to connect to a story. A plot can be exciting but if the characters are boring and static, it can be a huge turnoff. On the contrary, when plots aid character development, something magical can happen. Check out these 3 books that have that je ne sais quoi.
#1: Fever by Mary Beth Keane
I just read and analyzed this book for my MFA coursework this semester. It has been, by far, among my favorite reads this year. Even though I analyzed it for the characters’ addictions, the plot also works to drive character development and change. The book is about Typhoid Mary and takes place around the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It’s vibrant, human, and masterfully written.
#2: Shogun by James Clavell
This is an old favorite of mine that I read several times over in my high school and college days. If you like underdog stories and fish-out-of-water stories, this is a great book to read. It’s long, so carve out enough time to really dive into its 1,000+ pages. The story takes place in the early 17th century and is told from the point of view of an English pilot stuck in Japan, who meets Toranaga, the fictional version of Tokugawa, the last Shogun.
#3: Emma by Jane Austen
This was once my least favorite book by Austen, though I still loved it because she wrote it. Oddly enough, when I was in middle school, I loved the movie Clueless, which is based on this novel. This novel is about how Emma changes–as well as how Mr. Knightley changes–driven by the plot. The interesting thing about this plot though is that much of it is triggered by Emma herself, even though it doesn’t conform to her intentions.