Character Spotlight: Take a Look at Francine’s Dresses

Francine is a character in a story I’m writing that is set in the 1970s. She is the mother of the main character, and she’s dealing with her husband’s death in unhealthy ways.

One of these ways is her decision to go back into the workforce to help supplement the family income. This would be a noble cause if only Francine wasn’t using it as an excuse to fulfill her dream of a singing career. She pursues it with full force and explains to her children that she is doing it for the family. “Daddy’s gone. It’s my turn to sacrifice.”

Francine, like any good singer worth her notes, has a style that her audience has grown to know and love: She only wears dresses and gowns from the 1950s.

Enjoy this slideshow of the dresses I’ve collected for her via Pinterest:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Francine is a winner on stage, but her home life is a mess. No wonder she likes to escape into these gorgeous things every week.

Here’s an excerpt from the story where we find Francine preparing for her night out:

Lena was reluctant to receive the embrace because it meant the visit had ended. Girl talk and sharing thoughts was over. Her mother lifted people’s spirits with her God-given voice and she needed plenty of time for preparation. Lena had no business getting in the way of something as important as that, she supposed. She kissed her mother’s neck and then pulled away.


“Feel better, Lee? Now, I’ve got to get ready. Go on, honey, and find me my slip. Then you get to bed.”


Lena reached into the closet and found the slip among the rainbow of dresses. One day she and her best friend Ruthie had counted twenty-five and tried on four of them before Aunt Milly chased them out.


“Here it is.” She laid the slip over the chair.


Lena was silent as she watched her mother, her eyes closed, her body swaying, and her lips moving without a sound coming through. Francine was in her presence, as she liked to describe it, getting ready for the people who needed her voice to help them forget their troubles.

(Oh, Francine. Can’t you see how your daughter aches for you? Hang up the microphone and the dresses, and get back to being Mom.)

I’ll be adding to the dress collection, and taking some away, as I develop Francine’s character and get to know her better.

What do you think of her dresses?


Darla McDavid

I'm Darla, a writer of stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. I love cats, coffee, gardening, and tall stacks of books. Click here to subscribe to my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. In my other life, I'm an administrative professional and a Sunday School teacher for preschoolers.

4 Comments Write a comment

  1. I think you are a very talented “personal shopper” for Francine! Especially the black dress with full skirt. It gives a whole new meaning to little black dress. Beautiful!


  2. The black dress with the shoulder straps is my favorite. Thanks for inviting my opinion. Your really a great writer Darla keep it up. I can’t wait to read your first book


    • Hi, Karen — Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s wonderful and so encouraging when old friends give me compliments. While I’m working on the novel, I’m planning to release a book of short stories. I’ll let you know when that happens!


Leave a reply