I speculated briefly on making Lucy a PhD student (because the setting and relationships are suited to the original) but due to lack of experience, I gave up the idea. But what field would she be in? I thought history or English, since Charlotte Bronte was into history and writing. But since Lucy and Charlotte are practical, or try to be so, I thought about professional courses. Teaching was the only option to a Victorian lady, and now women have more career choices, so a lady of Charlotte’s ambition and intelligence would take a traditional course. Lucy is not at all scientific, so medicine and engineering were out of the question. That leaves law. As I have friends studying law, writing about a law student wouldn’t be a problem, but I can’t imagine a person of her character studying law. Economics and actuarial science was out of the question, accounting also unlikely.
Then I recalled a friend who had wanted to pursue economics but did pharmacy instead, partly because for financial reasons, partly because a pharmacy degree can stand you in good stead in Malaysia. Humanities degrees are more common in the UK, but over here, parents insist that their bright kids do a professional course or one of those boring conventional courses.
“But Lucy doesn’t do science!” I thought. “She’s a feelings-not-logical sort of person.”
But Charlotte hated teaching. She only taught to earn a living, but her real ambition was to become an artist (until she realised she wasn’t good enough, then decided she would become a writer. Luckily for us readers). Supposing I made Lucy a pharmacist (judging from friends’ responses, it is a less taxing course, and one of them who sucks at math actually does well in the course!) only because she had no choice and wanted to earn a living, but actually wanted to become a painter. One of my good friends wanted to do fine art, but was opposed by her family, so I think I could empathise. She doesn’t seem the domineering, active sort of woman to do law anyway, and since book!Lucy is somewhat of a nerd, I suppose a pharmacy degree could be a convincing alternative. I presume she is smart enough to do basic chemistry, but has no liking for it. I attended a scientific college, so I have experience of the sort of personalities you see there, but my course is not practical enough for Lucy. Say pharmacology – it has many analogies to pharmacy, and some consider the course more difficult.
I may change the course as I go along, but that’s it for now.