Hettie's got a good heart and runs her household well, if with a little more drama than her husband John thinks is necessary. Now that her children mostly have lives of their own, she is actually a little bored and has lately taken to the occasional sip of sherry to help put a bit of sparkle in her days. She tends to take people and situations at face value and doesn't feel the need to look deeply at anything.
But there is a special place in her heart for her most vexatious child, Harry.
Sylvia Rands on Hettie Smith
"Hettie is a mother of six. She's from a working class background and has married up. She loves running her house, runs it with a fairly iron hand and she's devoted to her kids. But she is quite vulnerable emotionally and when the reality of the loss she suffers in the War hits, she doesn't cope and it really makes her think. It's tricky for me because I come from a pacifist background. My grandfather was a chaplain in Egypt, my uncle was one of the Gallipoli survivors and my Dad was imprisoned as a pacifist in the second World War. So, for me, both of those aspects were in Hettie. She's sort of OK with the mainstream view of war, but then she journeys to the point where her conscience is pricked and she becomes, if not antiwar, certainly into making people aware what is actually going on and opposing conscription."