Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Bess featured on the cover

All of the characters that appear in Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

Main characters[]

Bess Brennan[]

Main article: Bess Brennan

Bess Brennan (born April 16,[1] 1921)[2] was the twin sister of Elin. The twins were born twelve minutes apart. At age four, their father passed away. Their uncle Ted took over his business and moved in to help out their mother. In December 1931, Bess was left blind after a sledding accident. She was sent to a special school for her condition, Perkins School for the Blind. It was close to her home in Boston, Massachusetts, allowing her to leave on the weekends. She became good friends with her roommates Amanda Bright and Eva Anderson, who helped her adapt to living as a blind person.

Supporting characters[]

Amanda Bright[]

Amanda Bright (c. 1921[2] – 1941)[3] was the roommate of Bess Brennan and Eva Anderson at Perkins School for the Blind. Her family was from Nantucket, where her dad worked as a fisherman. She had glaucoma when she was younger. After four operations, the doctors managed to save some of her sight. She called herself "semi," meaning she could see a little. Amanda quickly became close friends with Bess, helping her learn how to live with her blindness. In June 1938, she graduated from Perkins with Bess and Eva. Amanda went home to Nantucket and obtained a job at the Wauwinet Inn. She and her father were later swept out to sea on his boat and were never seen again.

Mrs. Brennan[]

Mrs. Brennan ("Mama") was the mother of Elin and Bess. Her husband died when the twins were only four. His brother Ted moved in after the funeral to help them. After Bess' accident, she constantly fretted over her and tried to do everything for her. She did not want her to go to Perkins, though Ted eventually convinced her that it was what Bess needed. She slowly began treating her more normally and stopped fretting as much. Bess's roommates visited the family for Easter. The family was immediately taken with Eva. She and Ted later legally adopted her, though the process was made complicated due to Mrs. Brennan not being married.

Elin Brennan[]

Elin Brennan (born April 16,[1] 1921)[2] was the twin sister of Bess and daughter of Mrs. and Mr. Brennan. She was older then Bess by twelve minutes.[4] The two sisters were very close, though their personalities were the opposite of each other. Elin was considered "outgoing and friendly," while Bess was more introverted and independent. After Bess' accident, Elin decided to cheer her up by helping her keep a diary. She occasionally made her own entries after writing Bess's. Once Bess left for Perkins, they were only able to write on the weekends until Miss Salinger offered to write on Wednesdays. In her adulthood, Elin was married.

Eva Anderson[]

Eva Anderson (c. 1921)[2] was a roommate of Bess and Amanda Bright at Perkins. A nurse gave her too much silver nitrate as a newborn, which caused her blindness. She was an orphan who had been at the school her whole life. Eva was often described as shy and preferred to keep to herself. She was also known for her beautiful singing voice. After Bess's arrival in January 1932, Eva gradually became close friends with her and later became close to Bess's family. Mrs. Brennan and Ted ended up adopting her, despite the long process. Eva graduated from Perkins in June 1938 with Eva and Amanda. She later studied massage at Swedish Therapy School.

Ted Brennan[]

Ted Brennan was the uncle of Elin and Bess Brennan. He was an optimist, always thinking there was a "silver lining to every cloud." Ted was a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and disliked Herbert Hoover. Following his brother's death, he took over his business and moved in with his family to help out. When the economy hit hard times, Ted was forced to lay off some workers despite taking a pay cut for himself. After Bess' accident, Ted was the first one to suggest Bess goes to Perkins. He wanted her to learn to be independent since he and her mother would not always be there for her. Bess's roommate Eva later became close to the family. Ted and his sister-in-law legally adopted her by the time she graduated Perkins.

Minor characters[]

  • Mrs. Alfredo was a teacher who gave Eva Anderson voice lessons.
  • Mr. Allen was a teacher at Perkins who taught braille. He was nice and patient with Bess Brennan, and stern with Amanda Bright, who often tried to peek during the lessons.
  • Billy was a student at Perkins who stayed in Tompkins Cottage. He was blinded by playing with firecrackers. Billy became friends with Bess, though they had to talk in secret due to the school rules.
  • Mr. Brennan ("Daddy;" died 1925)[5] was the father of Elin and Bess. He owned a business which his brother Ted took over after his death. Mr. Brennan passed away when the twins were four-years-old.
  • Brian McManus was a neighbor of the Brennans, who Bess considered him "annoying." She was trying to avoid his sled when she ran into a tree, which caused her to go blind. He later tried to apologize to her family but her uncle told him to away.
  • Mrs. Burton was the housemother of Bradlee Cottage, where Bess stayed. She was extremely strict, especially with Eva. Mrs. Burton was generally disliked by the girls under her care. Her false teeth went missing and later it was revealed that Eva had stolen them.
  • Caroline Cusack, Frances Meara, and Margaret Kendall were students who lived on the same floor as Bess at Bradlee Cottage.
  • Mr. Collier was the swimming instructor at Perkins. He reportedly had his furniture nailed to the floor to stop others from moving it without his knowledge.
  • Mrs. Cronin was a store owner in Boston. Mrs. Brennan loved the chocolate-chip cookies she sold.
  • Mr. Donnelly (died March 25, 1932)[6] was the president of a bank who visited Ted once a year. Ted did not agree with his views on the economic crisis. He later died of a heart attack.
  • Mr. Elliot was the director of Perkins School for the Blind. He was considered serious and surprised everyone when he told a funny story at chapel.
  • Helen Harper (born c. 1925)[7] was a student at Perkins. Bess was assigned with helping her get dressed in the morning and get ready for bad at night.
  • Jimmy Bremmer was an acquaintance of Bess's. After her accident, she visited Mr. Cronin's and wondered if Jimmy was there and if he still wanted to flirt with her.
  • Kathleen and Lucy were two friends of Elin and Bess. After her accident, Bess did not want to see them. Elin remained close to them and often mentioned to Bess that they wanted to see her.
  • Margaret Bourke-White was a magazine photographer and daughter of one of Perkins' housemothers. She spoke at the school's graduation in June 1932.
  • Mary Murphy, a student at Perkins who was semi-blind. Her family was well-off and lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was driven to and from school every day.
  • Miss Morgan, a teacher at Perkins who suggested that Bess try gymnastics again.
  • Naomi Walker, a student who stayed on the same floor as Bess. She was cast as the main character in Miss Salinger's play. Her father later took her out of school, despite her protests.
  • Miss Salinger was Bess's English and drama teacher as well as the assistant housemother of Bradlee Cottage. She was Bess's favorite teacher. Miss Salinger
  • Smokey was a cat given to the Brennan twins on their birthday. Despite being a gift for both of them, she was always considered just Bess's cat. She really missed her when she went to Perkins.
  • Mr. Walker was the father of Naomi. He often lost his jobs due to his alcoholism. After his wife's death, he took Naomi out of Perkins. He wanted her to go to vocational school in order to earn money.
  • Mr. Whalen was the strict science teacher at Perkins who Bess did not like.


See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?