Ella first meets the orphanage director through her brother Jerry. Peter is a fan of Jerry's books and an aspiring author himself. He is pleasant to look at, with a kind face, although slightly on the short side. Ella feels, given time, she could learn to like him, but still struggling with widowhood, she finds herself holding back.
Milly is the seven-year-old orphan who turns to Ella for help. Malnourished, so small for her age, she also doesn't speak, which makes Ella's task of helping her all the more difficult.