Finnish Characters: Part One, Origins, 1890’s
Eva Maki: Pronounced AY-vah. A country girl, she’s just turned eighteen. Still very much a child, she’s on the cusp of womanhood. She’s discovering the wonders of young men her age. Tall and strawberry blonde, she’s strong and independent, and the eldest of three girls, all cut from the same cloth as their mother Sinnikka. Being the eldest, she’s the responsible one, watching over not only her younger sisters, Liisa and Aili (pron. EYE-lee), but her blind mother and her father who’s slowly dying of tuberculosis. Each day she goes to the farm proper and works for Mrs. Mattson. The Makis are tenants on the Mattson Farm, a large operation a three-hour wagon ride east of the port city of Rauma, Finland. The Maki girls and the Mattson boys have grown up together, their parents, long-time friends. Growing up, Eva was always sweet on Eino (pron. AY-no), the middle son and her age. But just recently, Victor, Eino’s older brother has begun to court her in spite of her long-time understanding with Eino.
Eino: Strikingly handsome, blond and blue-eyed, Eino is the emotionally volatile middle son of Jacob and Maria Mattson. The only one who can tame him is his best friend and love interest, Eva. Recently, he’s been coming on to Eva in a more sexual manner, which is awakening her sexual desires. After a short while, Eino comes to realize his older brother Victor has begun to vie for Eva. He cannot understand why when Victor has always laid claim to the beautiful Olga Koskinen in Rauma. He begins to fear he’s losing Eva and strikes out at his family and Victor.
Victor: Handsome, brown-haired and brown-eyed, eldest son of Jacob and Maria Mattson. Popular in town, he’s well-loved by his parents and youngest brother Hannes. Always the model son, he gets away with a secret life off the farm. Eva has no idea of these activities, but Eino knows all about them. Always the top student, Victor is intelligent and worldly and honorable to Eva. It takes him no time to charm her away from Eino, using lies about Eino, and touching on her burgeoning sexual desires. He calls her Wild Rose (Villi Ruusu), one who’s beautiful but precocious underneath. Soon they are engaged. Now, Victor has Eva. That means he has to break it off with Olga, who’s pledged herself to him in every way. Victor thinks he has everything under control, but his jealously of Vilho, stepping in as suitor for Olga, ignites his want for Olga even when he and Eva are to marry.
In Eva’s origin story this triangle pits brother against brother, and tears a good family apart. There can only be one winner.
Next week’s blog—the main characters in Belfast, where Liam’s story originates.