David Copperfield is nn orphan boy delivered and named by Homer Wells after one of his favorite characters from Dickens.
Curly Day is an orphan boy at St. Cloud’s. He hopes to be adopted by Candy and Wally, and is devastated when they leave with Homer instead. He is eventually adopted by a couple who own a pharmacy, and is renamed Robert Rinfret. Unlike Snowy Meadows, he is bitter about his experience at St. Cloud’s.
Mrs. Eames is a prostitute whom Dr. Larch sleeps with as a young man. It is to be Larch’s one and only sexual experience, as he contracts a painful case of gonorrhea and resolves to be celibate from then on. Larch encounters Mrs. Eames once more, at a hospital in Boston, when she dies after having tried to abort her pregnancy.
Mrs. Eames’s daughter
The unnamed daughter of Mrs. Eames appears in the room shortly after Larch sleeps with her mother, and offers herself at a lower rate. Like her mother, she becomes a prostitute and dies of a botched abortion. In part because of Mrs. Eames and her daughter, Dr. Larch vows to help women who need abortions.
Dr. Gingrich and Mrs. Goodhall
Dr. Gingrich and Mrs. Goodhall are members of St. Cloud Orphanage’s board of trustees. They seek to find a younger replacement for Dr. Larch.
Mrs. Grogan is the head of the girls’ division at St. Cloud’s Orphanage. She is from Ireland and is fond of giving girls Irish Catholic names.
Dr. Harlow is a pompous young doctor whom Homer meets while volunteering at a hospital during the war. Dr. Harlow refuses to perform abortions, saying “rules exist for a reason” (372).
Candy Kendall is the beautiful, independent daughter of a lobsterman in the town of Heart’s Rock, Maine. Candy comes to St. Cloud’s with her boyfriend Wally to have an abortion. Candy comes to love both Wally and Homer. When Wally is missing in action during World War II, she and Homer have an affair that leads to a son, Angel. But when Wally returns alive, Candy marries him.
The father of Candy Kendall, Ray Kendall is a lobsterman and handyman. He and Homer have a good relationship.
Dr. Wilbur Larch
Dr. Wilbur Larch is the founder and resident doctor of St. Cloud’s Orphanage. A kindly man, he is thought of by his nurses as the “saint” of St. Cloud’s. He delivers unwanted babies as well as providing illegal abortions. Larch has never married and has no children of his own, but comes to look on Homer Wells as a son. Larch has a lifelong addiction to ether, and dies of an overdose when well into his nineties.
Grace Lynch is a worker at Ocean View Orchards. An abused wife, she once had an abortion at St. Cloud’s and tells Wally Worthington about the place.
Snowy Meadows is an orphan boy at St. Cloud’s. He is adopted by a family in the furniture business and becomes Robert Marsh. Snowy praises Dr. Larch and St. Cloud’s.
Melony is an orphan of St. Cloud’s who is around the same age as Homer Wells. Abandoned as a child of four or five and sexually abused in foster homes, Melony becomes an angry and bitter young woman. The strong-willed and intimidating Melony initiates Homer to sex and makes him promise never to leave the orphanage without her. When he does leave, she goes on a quest to find him again. Along the way, she has a long-term love relationship with another woman and a successful career as an electrician.
Nurse Angela and Nurse Edna
Nurse Angela and Nurse Edna are the two nurses who assist Dr. Larch at St. Cloud’s Orphanage. Nurse Edna is the sillier of the two, and has a longtime crush on Dr. Larch. She names many orphans after him. Nurse Angela is the more sensible nurse. She names Homer Wells and becomes the namesake of his son, Angel. Both women admire and are loyal to Dr. Larch, supporting his work.
Nurse Caroline is a nurse whom Homer Wells meets while assisting at a hospital during the war. Nurse Caroline secretly helps women who need abortions. After the war, she goes to work at St. Cloud’s. Nurse Caroline and Homer Wells begin a love affair once Homer returns to the orphanage at the end of the novel.
Debra Pettigrew is a girl Homer dates when he moves to the community of Heart’s Rock. She teaches him the “rules” of necking.
Mr. Arthur Rose
Mr. Arthur Rose is the boss of the apple-picking crew at Ocean View Orchards. An African American man from South Carolina, he comes north during the harvest season. Mr. Rose is skilled with his knife, and so earns the awe and obedience of his crew. He gets along well with Homer, but he has a dark secret: he sexually abuses his own daughter, Rose Rose. After he impregnates her and she is forced to have an abortion, Rose Rose fatally wounds her father with a knife.
Rose Rose is the pretty young daughter of Mr. Rose. She becomes pregnant after her father has sex with her, and Homer Wells gives her an abortion. Rose Rose fatally wounds her father with a knife and then runs away, never to be seen at Orchard View again.
Fuzzy Stone is an orphan of St. Cloud’s. Born prematurely, Fuzzy has underdeveloped lungs. Dr. Larch fashions a tent for him to help him breathe. He dies at the age of nine. Later, Dr. Larch falsifies the orphanage records to make it seem that Fuzzy lived and went on to medical school. Homer Wells takes on the identity of Fuzzy Stone when he returns to St. Cloud’s as Dr. Larch’s replacement, Dr. Stone.
Angel Wells is the son of Homer Wells and Candy Kendall. To protect the feelings of Wally and his family, Homer and Candy lie and say that Angel is adopted from St. Cloud’s. Years later, they confess the truth. As a teen, Angel falls in love with Rose Rose.
The protagonist of the story, Homer Wells is a young orphan looking to find his way in the world. Having gone through four foster homes, he eventually decides that his home is at St. Cloud’s Orphanage. Dr. Larch, the orphanage doctor, trains Homer in obstetrics and teaches him how to perform abortions. He comes to love Homer as his own son, and hopes the boy will follow in his footsteps. Homer, however, disapproves of abortion and is unsure whether he wants to be a doctor. He leaves St. Cloud’s for many years, managing an apple orchard and fathering a child, before finally returning to take Dr. Larch’s place.
Wallace Worthington Senior and Olive Worthington
Wallace Worthington Senior and Olive Worthington are the parents of Wally Worthington and owners of Ocean View Orchards. “Senior,” as he is called, is a jolly, fun-loving man who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which others mistake for alcoholism. Olive is a capable woman who manages the orchard. The Worthingtons take Homer in to their home, Olive coming to view Homer almost as her own son.
Wally Worthington is the handsome, idealistic son of apple orchard owners Wallace and Olive Worthington. Wally and Candy are in love and plan to marry one day, but when Candy becomes pregnant at age seventeen, they go to St. Cloud’s for an abortion. Wally invites Homer to stay with his family and the two become best friends. When World War II begins, Wally joins the Air Force and is shot down over Burma. He survives, but is left paralyzed from the waist down and sterile.