Why does Myra like oranges so much?

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I am a little stuck on Myra, so we will talk a bit more about her today.  She is extremely complex and has been one of the most satisfying characters to develop.  Her appearance indicates nothing more than weakness but that also makes her stealthy.  She can sneak up on you.  She is a hustler like Forest Whittaker in the Color of Money, completely unassuming.  She loves a man with every ounce of her soul who does not and most likely, will not love her back.  The saddest aspect of Myra is that she hangs on with this thin little string of hope to any chance that Henry might see her as something more than an nuissance.  I keep her close to me as she is one of the most emotional characters to write.

Anyhow, Myra loves oranges.  Much like Watteau’s dogs, Oranges are peppered throughout the novels, popping up here and there.  Why does Myra like oranges?  Oranges are exotic.  Their sweet smell is reminiscent of far away places that are warm and sunny.  Myra longs to break free.  She is a prisoner of her own fear, her loyalty to her father, Roman Hatfield, and as a child, her illnesses. She dreams of traveling to white beaches kissed by blue waters, of starting over in a place where nobody knows her.  She could reinvent herself.  Oranges are Myra’s dreams.  She is pivotal in each story line, much like a swing vote in an election. BUT, ultimately Myra loves oranges because Henry does.

Myra’s role shifts late in the first novel:

“Thank you, Myra,” Lucy said sweetly, “for keeping Henry company and for being such a true and loyal friend.”  Myra blushed.  “You are most welcome, Miss Martin,” she replied.  “Oh please,” Lucy interrupted, “no formalities necessary here.  Call me Lucy.  I sincerely hope that one day soon, that I may call you a friend as well.”  Myra’s cheeks turned an even deeper shade of red.  She had never boasted many friends.  In fact, she had never had a single one outside of Henry, who was always a bit fickle until now. Myra hoped that she might find joy in her newfound friendship and would find someone with whom to share her heart, just like Lucy and Henry.  She loved Henry with all her soul but she knew that she must let him go and forge a new path.  She wanted so desperately to believe what Henry had told her, that she was stronger than she knew…

The one concern with Myra’s newfound role as spy is whether or not Henry is treating her as if she were expendable.  Is he more apt to put her in situations that could cause her harm than he is with Lucy?  Ultimately their fates are my choice but most times it is as if the characters make their own decisions, I merely tell their stories…

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