Mrs. Eleanor "Nellie" Lovett, the famed antiheroine of Sweeney Todd, was once a serial killer's lover and the purveyor of rather suspicious meat pies. Immortalized in song, story and urban legend (though probably not a real person), Mrs. Lovett entered the 'verse after her supposed death in the musical. Even though she has remarried and is now Queen Eleanor of Lorien, most of the suethors (including her own, Mira) still think of her as Lovett. (She may also be the mother of Mira Lovett-Bernstein, but if so, has wished not to involve her in any of her questionable deeds.)
Mrs. Lovett is modeled by Patti Lupone, whom her suethor saw on Broadway in the role. She is therefore a curvaceous, raven-haired woman of about fourty, with a flapper haircut and a charming if imperious manner.
Although she is primarily musical-based, a quote from the original story, A String of Pearls, best describes her:
Buxom, young and good-looking...[but some] swore that Mrs Lovett had quite a sinister aspect, and that there was 'a lurking devil in her eye' that, if once roused, would be capable of achieving some serious things, and might not be so easily quelled again.
Childhood and Formative Years
Born to an impoverished woman of ill repute and even worse luck (in actuality, the Old Lady from Candide), Lovett grew up without a father figure. According to her mother, her birth was caused by the rape of an Indian Prince, which Lovett does not believe (though it's actually true.) In order to avoid starvation, she learned a trade as soon as possible- baking. She was a troublesome teenager, and from the time she was fourteen she had a string of much older boyfriends, all of whom were shady characters and most of whom abused her. In order to keep her daughter safe, her mother encouraged her to marry a local man named Albert Lovett, who had more money. The new Mrs. Lovett soon reached an unspoken agreement with her husband- she would cook his meals and take care of him, and he would look the other way when she had her numerous affairs. Though they rarely slept together, they became good friends, and she was genuinely saddened by his death.
Attend the Tale
Though she is reluctant to talk about her time spent with the demon barber of Fleet Street, something must be said about it. After her husband died, Mrs. Lovett fell for an innocent young man named Benjamin Barker, who was soon sent to Australia on a false charge. When he came back, he was a changed man- violent and hate-ridden, determined to murder the Judge who had sent him away, raped his wife and imprisoned his daughter.
In love (or at least obsessed), Mrs. Lovett told him his wife had taken poison, though she tried to stop her. This much was true, but after the woman had ignored Lovett and taken it anyway, she had gone mad rather than died. Mrs. Lovett justified her concealment on the grounds that any woman selfish enough to kill herself without thinking of her daughter's fate didn't deserve her husband.
Eventually, Benjamin Barker (now calling himself Sweeney Todd) began to take his revenge on innocent customers, slitting their throats out of rage. Ever pragmatic, Mrs. Lovett suggested that he let her use the bodies as filling for her meat pies, and the two became a team. She hired a mentally unbalance teenager named Toby to work for her, not telling him about what the meat was. He soon fell in love with her, as she was the first person to show him kindness.
To make a (very) long story short, the whole situation ended with Sweeney leaving her for dead after almost killing her, and Toby (whom she'd left for dead) losing what remained of his marbles. Mrs. Lovett claims she bargained with the Devil to save her life, but this is probably a lie.
After recovering, Mrs. Lovett headed for Paris to escape the police. Setting up a new pie shop, she was reaquainted with Toby, who was now a handsome if deeply troubled young man, and still in love with her despite everything. The two began an affair, and he went back to work for her.
All this changed with the entrance of a runaway named Steerpike.
With her usual fondness for strays, Mrs. Lovett hired a starving seventeen year old she'd found scrounging in her waste bins. She and Steerpike took an instant liking to each other, as they were both amoral and manipulative charismatics. Toby and Steerpike became great enemies, and Toby was eventually goaded into joining the army, where he died to save Mrs. Lovett (who'd been selling supplies), and who he knew would never love him the way he loved her.
Feeling guilty and depressed, Mrs. Lovett found herself in Steerpike's arms that night. To the great surprise of both, they actually fell in love with each other.
Murdering and manipulating, Steerpike managed to worm his way up the social ladder in the Lorien royal court. When he managed to snatch the throne, he named Eleanor Lovett as his Queen. The two produced an heir, but the political situation is heated, with violence on both sides.
Our heroine has proved to be a surprisingly good Queen. Still posessing a deep hunger for love, she now wishes to earn the love of her people, and her popularity may be the only thing causing the King to be tolerated...