Sophronia Angelina Temminnick is the main character in The Finishing School series.
She is a human girl, around the age of 14 (at the start of the series) who lived in the English countryside prior to attending Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School, a unique school under the guise of a regular finishing school that specializes in turning girls – particularly those of a wealthy family or higher social class – into spies and saboteurs. Her love interests are Felix Mersey and Phineas B. Crow (who prefers to be called "Soap").
Sophronia is Caucasian, with straight, middling brown hair, moderately green eyes, and freckles. She smells of lemon and roses. She is described as looking more like her father than her mother. What she does not know was that her smile is more powerful than most. Although her face is not terribly thrilling, when she smiles with the full force of her personality behind it, she comes over vibrant and striking. Her sharp confidence, tall stature and green eyes draw boys towards her.
“What Sophronia did not know, and had yet to learn to control, was that her smile was rather more powerful than most. The face she saw in the mirror each morning was passingly pretty, if not terribly thrilling, but when she smiled with the full force of her personality behind it, she came over vibrant and striking.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Chapter 16)
“She had not yet received lessons in seduction, or she might have understood the appeal of sharp confidence, a topping figure, and green eyes. All Sophronia’s intellect was directed at something other than attracting male companionship. These things combined to make her particularly appealing to gentlemen.” (Curtsies & Conspiracies, Chapter 4)
Sophronia dresses in a variety of fashions. She tries to stay on top of the latest fashions, despite having exclusively hand-me-down clothes to work with. Her boots are coated with Indian rubber (see Etiquette & Espionage) in an attempt to prevent them from scuffing and to help her climb in her many adventures. She often wears a hair-ribbon, or keeps one on her person, as they tend to be rather useful. She is forced to use curling papers to curl her hair and sees it as a terrible punishment. As of Curtsies and Conspiracies, Sophronia and Lady Linette decide that she looks her best in military-inspired dresses.
Confident, loyal, will not hesitate to use dirty methods to get information. Sophronia is perfectly suited to the field of espionage, and many of its particulars come to her naturally. She also prefers to be in charge to the point of being bossy, yet has a problem with authority.
As taught by Mademoiselle Geraldine's, she prefers to be prepared for any situation, and carries the standard taught armament of sewing scissors, handkerchief, perfume, lemon, hair ribbon, and a red lace doily at all times. Aside from these items, she also carries her hurlie, obstructor, a fake mustache, a tea sachet, a chatelaine with carnet de bal, Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification, and a small pork pie.
Sophronia was born on November 29, 1837. She is the sixth child of the Temminnick family, out of eight siblings.
There are eight siblings in the Temminnick family as follows:
- Nigella ~ oldest, girl.
- Ephraim ~ eldest boy
- Hudibras ~ twin to Humphrey
Intelligencer work Edit
Sophronia indentures her intelligencer services to the dewan in exchange for the dewan's attempt to bite a dying Soap to try for werewolf metamorphosis. One of her first jobs for the dewan is to go undercover as Alexia Tarabotti's nanny in order to protect her, through a deal made between Floote and the dewan.
At the end of Manners & Mutiny, Soap is being trained by the dewan to help in this sort of work as well. The plan is to deploy Soap and Sophronia together as field agents once Soap's training is complete.
In the books Edit
14 years old Sophronia was the death of her mother until she was finally sent away to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School, which she later discovered was, without a doubt, a finishing school, just not the kind her mumsy thought was.
Sophronia and her friends discover a train on their way to take Sidheag home to Kingair. Overseen by Monique de Pelouse on behalf of the Westminster Hive, the train carries an aetherographer, and is tasked with tracking a Picklemen balloon that is being used to control mechanicals in various parts of Britain. Sophronia unwittingly foils the hive's operation, then stops the Picklemen.
When Soap is wounded by Duke Golborne in the confrontation, Sophronia makes a deal with the dewan to become his intelligencer in exchange for his attempt to turn Soap into a werewolf.
In Changeless Ivy Hisslepenny lets slip the possible presence of Sophronia as an adult spy. Sophronia (Ivy's Aunt on her mother's side) appears to be in the background observing the humanity crisis occurring in London. Over a meal, in conversation with the Kingair Pack, Ivy says the following: "I had heard members of the supernatural set were, well, indisposed, last week. My aunt said that all the vampires took to their hives and most of the drones were called in. She was supposed to see a concert but it was canceled due to the absence of a pianist belonging to the Westminster Hive." (Changeless, Chapter 9). Although, we would do well to remember that Ivy has many aunts on her mother's side - Gail confirms that this is an indirect reference to Sophronia.
- She is often called "Ria" by Felix Mersey.
- In Waistcoats & Weaponry, Sophronia chooses the bladed fan as her trademark weapon.
- After being caught alone with Pillover by her mother, Sophronia becomes fake engaged to him in order to preserve her reputation. Sophronia breaks off the engagement soon thereafter.
- Sophronia and Soap decide to become lovers after the harrowing events of the Great Picklemen Revolt of 1854.
- Sophronia doesn't blush prettily.
- Sophronia and her sisters character study, at Gail's blog.
- Pinterest Character Board for Sophronia Angelina Temminnick.
- Waistcoats & Weaponry Breaking Down the Cover ~ Sophronia's Fan
- Fans For Sophronia ~ A Historical Retrospective
- Dressing Sophronia from the Corset Up
- "'But I don't want to be a vampire drone,' Sophronia winced. 'They'll suck my blood and make me wear only the very latest fashions.'” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson One)
- “After a moment's consideration, she switched to the spot next to Pillover and attempted to read over his shoulder, ignoring his faint goaty smell. All boys smell of goat.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Three)
- “I’m overburdened by strange occurrences at the moment.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Four)
- “'Very well, Miss Temminnick. Tell me a little about yourself. Are you well-educated?' Sophronia considered this question seriously. 'I don’t believe so.' 'Excellent. Ignorance is most undervalued in a student. And have you killed anyone recently?' Sophronia blinked. 'Pardon?' 'Oh, you know, a knife to the neck, or perhaps a cleverly noosed cravat?' Sophronia said only, 'Not my preferred diversion.' 'Oh, dear, how disappointing. Well, don’t you fret. We shall soon find you some useful hobby.'” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Five)
- “Some of the most disagreeable people I know are the most ladylike.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Five)
- "Algebra was far more interesting when it was a matter of proportioning out mutton chops so as to poison only half of one's dinner guests and then determining the relative value of purchasing a more expensive, yet more effective, antidote over a home remedy." (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Eight)
- "My eyelash fluttering is subpar." (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Ten)
- "This is madness. Oh, well." (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Ten)
- “She had to give her teachers credit: they were right to insist all pupils carry scissors, handkerchiefs, perfume and hair ribbons at all times. At some point she'd learn why they also required a red lace doily and a lemon.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Eleven)
- "Sophronia was minding her own business and running late to luncheon, as was her custom. she'd yet to learn the advantage of punctuality. As she told Sister Mattie the third time she was late to household potions and poisons, nothing interesting happened until after an event commenced." (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Thirteen)
- “I do not giggle without purpose. Lady Linette says you should never misapply a giggle.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Thirteen)
- “What Sophronia did not know, and had yet to learn to control, was that her smile was rather more powerful than most. The face she saw in the mirror each morning was passingly pretty, if not terribly thrilling, but when she smiled with the full force of her personality behind it, she came over vibrant and striking. It was one of the reasons Monique disliked her so.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Fifteen)
- “How have I never noticed she only required praise to find me acceptable? wondered Sophronia, not quite realizing that this, too, was a mark of her new education. Many was the lady whose belief in another's sound judgment was based solely upon that other judging her favorably.” (Etiquette & Espionage, Lesson Seventeen)
- “Miss Temminnick, you are in receipt of the highest marks we have ever given in a six-month review. Your mind seems designed for espionage. Nevertheless, you veer away from perfect in matters of etiquette. Do not let these marks go to your head; there are many girls at this school who are better than you. Our biggest concern is what you get up to when we are not watching. Because, if nothing else, this test has told us you are probably spying on us, as well as everyone around you.” (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 2nd Test)
- "'So, did you hold back during that test?' 'Maybe a little,' Sophronia admitted. Soap grinned. 'That's my girl.' Sophronia glared at him. He was getting familiar. 'You are, miss.' He continued to girn. 'I'm my own girl, thank you very much.'" (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 3rd Test)
- “Sophronia had no idea why Felix was so intent upon her. She had not yet received lessons in seduction, or she might have understood the appeal of sharp confidence, a topping figure, and green eyes. All Sophronia’s intellect was directed at something other than attracting male companionship. These things combined to make her particularly appealing to gentlemen. Soap could have told her that.” (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 4th Test)
- "Where does one purchase a mustache in London? Fleet Street?" (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 7th Test)
- “A girl’s boudoir was sacred!” (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 8th Test)
- "The sofa clattered back into motion and came after her, but was confined to the shed. It stopped in the doorway, glaring at her and shaking threatening tassels - if an object without eyes can be said to glare. Sophronia felt sorry for the chaise lounge, but she wasn't going to risk being caught in order to mollify a gaudy piece of furniture. (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 9th Test)
- “She ought to remember to stay on her guard, for it was when an illegal activity became easy that one was most at risk of exposure.” (Curtsies & Conspiracies, the 12th Test)
- "'This is not a cut, Felix. I must go fix something.' 'Why is it always your problem to fix, Ria?' 'Because I see that there is a problem when no one else does.'" (Curtsies & Conspiracies, The 14th Test)
- “Espionage, Sophronia had learned, was tough on petticoats.” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session One)
- “'Lady Linette has been teaching us seduction techniques.' She lowered her eyes and then looked off across the gray moor, presenting him with her profile, which was rather a nice one, or so Mademoiselle Geraldine told her. That statement successfully shocked Felix. He swallowed a few times before saying, his voice almost as high as it had been a year ago, 'Really?'” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Five)
- "The tea, once it arrived, had its customary effect - engendering comfort and loosening the tongue. That's tea for you, thought Sophronia, the great social lubricant." (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Seven)
- “'You think loyalty can be bought?' 'Don’t you?'” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Nine)
- "'That's a very murky position,' objected Felix. 'So's the weather. But this is England, we must learn to live with uncertainty.'" (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Ten)
- “No wife ever cleared a man’s character, not without a great deal of trouble on the lower decks." (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Twelve)
- “I’m going to spend most of my life pretending to be other people, hiding and skulking in shadows. I want someone who will remind me of who I am. Once I’ve figured that out.” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Thirteen)
- “I want a man who stays out of my way.” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Thirteen)
- “Things were always funnier when one was lying down.” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Thirteen)
- "I just feel that world domination is not my cup of tea. Is that shortsighted?" (Waistcoats & Weaponry)
- “Soap understood her. Soap would always understand.” (Waistcoats & Weaponry, Session Fourteen)
- “Sophronia felt bound to object. 'I, for one, should prefer not to shoot at someone I like.' 'Admirable scruples, Miss Temminnick. Get over them. For you will do it anyway.” (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis 4)
- “It didn't feel sporting to shoot at a crazy person, even if that person was a vampire who'd agreed to the job.” (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis Four)
- “Truth be told, even with Sophronia’s arm muscles, vampires could hurl her a great deal farther than Sophronia could hurl vampires. A great tragedy of life, no doubt." (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis 4)
- “Trust is a lot to ask of someone.” (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis Nine)
- “For you, it's gossip. For me, it's action.” (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis Nine)
- “There was no way she was staying trapped with tea at a time like this.” (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis Ten)
- "Tonight I crash an airship. On purpose." (Manners & Mutiny, Crisis Fifteen)
- “We like the shadows. That's where all the power is.” (Manners & Mutiny, Afterword)
- Sophronia and her sisters character study, at Gail's blog.