Emily is imaginative, a dreamer. Writing is her life. She takes everything to heart, be it love, joy, friendship, pain, sorrow, or betrayal. Hopes to be either a poetess or an authoress. Emily may have the gift of "second sight."
Elizabeth Murray is the sister of Emily's late mother. She is very strict and expects Emily to obey her without question. Although she learns to care for Emily, she doesn't understand Emily. She is determined that Emily will uphold the Murray traditions and protect the family name.
Ilse is Emily's best friend. She has a quick temper, but is soon over her rages. She is a fiercely loyal friend and honest to a fault. Ilse also has a talent for reciting and has dreams of becoming an elocutionist.
Laura is a gentle woman who loves Emily very much even though she doesn't completely understand her niece. She can't stand up to her sister Elizabeth, but is willing to bend rules for Emily's sake.
Teddy is a close friend of Emily and Ilse's. He is a gifted artist. Unfortunately, he is held back from developing his artistic skills by his irrationally possessive mother.
The people of the town of Blair Water consider Jimmy to be simple. He is actually a hard worker at New Moon Farm and takes care of the garden. He recites his poetry for Emily while he is boiling pigs' potatoes. He provides Emily with "Jimmy-books" to write in.
Perry is hired as the Murrays' chore boy. He is roguish and ambitious. He comes to Emily's defense whenever the opportunity presents itself.