"If there's one thing I've learned, it's don't ask questions you don't want the answer to...." - Liz Woods
Elizabeth Woods is the matriarch of Thornewood Hall and the Woods Family and the owner of the Woodlands Corporation, comprising the number of businesses and franchises owned by the family business. A socialite and public hostess, she is well known for her philanthropic and charitable donations to charity, but she also has a reputation for being remote and wary to strangers, an attribute caused by two failed marriages.
Born February 28, 1945, Liz is the daughter of William and Judith Woods and the brother of Robert Woods. She had three other siblings who died in infancy, leaving her mother a very sad and despondent woman, who filled her grief with huge parties open to the local affluent families of Ashford Falls, such as the Hedisons, the Satterwhites, the Crutchers and others. As a teenager, she was known to be a fairly vivacious teen who dabbled in acting and modeling while she attended college in New York City, but in 1975 after a long week of partying, she suddenly found herself pregnant and returned home to Ashford Falls. To cover up the unexpected child, her parents invented an elaborate cover story that the infant was an orphan they had adopted from the Hammond Foundling Home in New York. Named "Monica" after a close friend she had loved in high school, Liz had her daughter in secret and her parents hired a nanny named Maggie Winters was hired to help Liz take care of her. Unfortunately, in 1986, this cover story was outed by a reporter covering the closure of the old foundling home and released to the public.
To further curb Liz and keep her distracted only to her daughter, Liz was also matched with Thomas Pritchett, the scion of another prominent New England family, as a potential husband, and although they were attracted to each other, Liz rejected the idea of getting married on the whims of her parents. Threatened with losing her inheritance or marriage, Liz gave in to her parents and accepted Thomas's wedding proposal.
Married a few months after Monica was born, Liz and Thomas's marriage started out hesitantly enough, but they soon gradually accepted each other. They had a child of their own together, Carolyn Pritchett, who grew up alongside Monica ( who everyone called "Nikki"), but the pressures of being a father, the remoteness of the estate and working under Liz's father in the family business started having a psychological toll on him. He reportedly made a half-hearted attempt to woo Maggie, the nanny, but when Liz discovered this revelation, she gave him essentially the same option her parents had given her to either stand up or get out. Surprised by him moving out, a spiteful Liz destroyed all images of him in the family history and had Carolyn's surname legally changed to "Woods" to erase all existence of him in the family records.
Surprisingly, Liz turned out to have the business acumen to expand the family business. She became a stockholder in Hedison Pharmaceuticals, invested in the expansion of Lemp Field and acquired the old plane parts factory in Winchester to build an electronics company. The management of several of the family companies was handled by her brother, Robert Woods, who moved home from Albany with his son, David Woods after the death of his wife. After Thomas, she was hesitant to get into any more serious relationships, but through the Seventies and Eighties, she was close to Samuel Quinn, the foreman of her inport/export company in Winchester, who was often running papers to her to sign, and to Ted Mocherie at the Ashford Falls State Bank, who was later replaced by Carolyn Strickland, who also soon became one of one of Liz's friends. Of these two, Quinn certainly had romantic aspirations with Liz, but around 1980, she was courted by Sam Lockbridge, a local artist, who she married after a whirlwind romance. The marriage certainly shocked Robert, Carolyn and Nikki, who responded hesitantly about their relationship. Although Sam loved Liz and wanted to be with her, he wanted her to live with him elsewhere, but she resisted, refusing to live anywhere else but Thornewood Hall. He lived with Liz at Thornewood for over a year, struggling with life at the remote estate, but eventually, Liz let him out of the marriage, buying for him the nearby Elk Brook Lodge in Wyckoff, where he ran a bar and social gathering spot. Because of these unresolved issues she had with Thomas and Sam, a situation which made her borderline agoraphobic, Liz started stepping away from all further relationships.
Since Robert's return home, Liz also took a shine to young David, who despite being incorrigible, reminded her much of Robert as a young boy. She also encountered Frank Latimer, a former associate of her brother, who approached her under the auspices as a lawyer but with the intentions of exacting revenge on Robert for an undisclosed offense.
In 1995, Elizabeth and Robert welcomed Barclay Woods, a distant relative from the England branch of the family to Thornewood Hall, a branch they didn't know existed. Presenting Liz with lost heirlooms from their ancestors, Barclay only asked for permission to restore the Woodbury Mansion, the ancestral manse of the family left over from the 1790s. Following his arrival, there were a series of murders in Ashford Falls concerning young women. Lindy Benson, a friend of Carolyn's was one of these women, and Carolyn herself, who survived but acted moody, withdrawn and nocturnal for several time while being treated by Dr. Samantha Oh, a physician from Albany. Dr. Oh stayed at Thornewood long after Carolyn got better, becoming one of Liz's best friends with Maggie, Barclay and Frank.
Barclay also ended up followed to Thornewood Hall by Victoria Luckweather, his estranged ex-wife, who charmed Liz into letting her stay on the estate and try and win Barclay's heart once more. Her appearance coincided with extreme anxiety restlessness and irritably accompanied by nightmares through the family. Liz became haunted by the pressure her parents had placed on her as a teenager and by Thomas seemingly returning to her. On the brink of a complete breakdown, Liz was taken by Nikki and Dr. Oh to Ardmore Sanitarium for rest and relaxation, returning home a few months later.
Also following Barclay's arrival to Thornewood, the alleged haunted reputation of Thornewood Hall became exasperatingly more assertive with the appearances of Sara Wood, a spirit Liz had encountered herself a few times as a child. About a year after she started re-appearing, Liz and the family started seeing the ghost of Quentin Woods, a relative from the 1890s, and Bridget Collins, a former housekeeper from the same period. The ghosts seemed very interested in both David Woods and Amanda Hackett, the younger sister of Chris Hackett, one of Carolyn's boyfriends. At the height of the activity, Liz and the family briefly had to leave Thornewood and live off the estate for a few months. Working with Dr. Oh and Professor D. B. Moore, a professor from the University of Albany, Barclay was able to seemingly exorcise the ghosts or at least decrease the velocity of the activity under unknown means for the family to return to Thornwood Hall.
By 1997, Liz welcomed another distant relative, Quentin Woods, a descendant of the first Quentin Woods to Thornewood Hall, who became attracted to and started dating Maggie. With his arrival, Liz started leaving more of the day to day responsibilities to Nikki, who shared them with Carolyn. She took a trip to England looking for more of her English relatives, but she didn't find any, hearing from Barclay that he was the last one. She returned in time for Barclay and Victoria's second marriage, accompanied by Sebastian Wright, a member of the British aristocracy, and although they have a relationship, so far nothing has come of it as late.