Today’s Booking Through Thursday poses an interesting question:


Which is more important when you read — the actual story or the characters? I’ve read books with great plots, but two-dimensional characters, and I’ve read multi-layered characters stuck in clunky stories, and I’m sure you have, too. So which would you rather focus on, if you couldn’t have both?


I love plots, subplots, and a story that moves seamlessly through the pages.  But without the characters—wonderfully fleshed out characters—it would all fall apart, like a meal without salt or spices.

So I choose:  Both!  But what I remember most about a story are the characters.  So I guess CHARACTERS win out, just a bit.


Here are some of my recent reads with great plot, with characters that drive it.  Click images for my reviews:



The MC is Frieda Klein, the kind of character that hooked me from the very first book. She is quirky, compulsive, and has her obsessive habits that make her seem like someone I could know. A friend or colleague.

But the plot is suspenseful, twisted, and captivating.






Set in England, Elizabeth Is Missing is that story, and as it unfolds in the first person narrative of Maud, the aging mother and grandmother, we are soon catapulted into her interior world, almost as if the losses are ours.

Without this great character, the plot would sink into despair, IMO.  We follow her and root for her.  She is the glue that holds the plot together.



Every month, I pick a favorite book, and at the end of the year, produce a list of them.  And what shines most about them all….characters!


What are your thoughts?




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  1. It is a hard question because I need a good plot but I wouldn’t engage with the story unless the characters were good too… but if had great characters and no real plot then I probably wouldn’t keep reading…


  2. Yep, gotta be both. Like you, it’s the characters I remember most, but I’d soon tire of even the most interesting character if what they were involved in was…dull!


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