I like how the women in the book take a stance and prove their value.
It is clear that Lillian is determined and her gender doesn’t stop her from getting what she wants. After being caught in an amorous liaison by their parents, Lillian and Ben elope because their parents (Frances and Timothy) have threatened them with sending them away. Once they reach Aukland, they find a place to live and get married. Meanwhile, Elaine persuades Timothy to leave the children be and find their way by themselves. Timothy starts university and a job in the dock while Elaine gives piano classes. Soon Elaine finds she’s pregnant, so she knows they need money. She’s such a clever young woman and finds a job for her husband in a newspaper as a freelance journalist. The first article Ben writes is ridiculous in the way he uses grandiloquent words and expressions, so she has to modify it herself, and does the same the second time. The newspaper editor realizes she’s the one who writes the articles, and tells her to stop pretending the articles come from Ben. So she starts and soon she is asked to write short stories. Her romantic stories are a hit, and the editor then asks her to write a novel. I like the way Lillian makes her way in life and goes out of her way to get what she wants. I think she has more spirit and energy than Ben. Ben is quite flat and dull, and if it weren’t for Lillian, they wouldn’t have survived in their new life. Now they have a boy, and I hope Lillian finally contacts and makes up with her parents.
As for Gloria, she is gradually finding her way as well. I’m sorry that she and Gwyneira don’t get on very well. Gwyneira does her best, but there’s something that keeps Gloria at arm’s length. She’s miserable and angry, and takes out on everybody, especially the men working for her great grandmother. I really hoped Gloria and Gwyneira could come closer, but it hasn’t happened yet. She has come closer to the Maori through Tonga’s son, and she even goes on migration with them. She and the young man become friends, but she feels betrayed when Tonga claims that they should get married and his son agrees. Gloria is beyond angry and gives him a piece of her mind. That speech she delivers is just great, and it is then that she seems to realize that she’s her own person, and doesn’t need to define her person because of her roots. I hope things go better for the girl.
There’s something in this part that Marama (Gloria’s grandmother) tells Gwyneira that I’m not completely in agreement with. She says that because of Gwyneira’s mistakes Kura and Gloria turn out to be the way they are. Maybe Gwyneira was too permissive with Kura, but she gave the girl all her love, but she was never thankful. She’s too selfish and thinks about anybody but herself. Could that be Gwyneira’s fault? Maybe she contributed to her personality, but a person is also the combination of experiences, and Kura has chosen to be that way. Not even her daughter moved her to change or love her. And what mistakes did Gwyneira make with Gloria? She gave the girl a home when her mother refused her, and then she couldn’t prevent her from going to the boarding school because that’s what Kura and William wanted. Gwyneira’s worst fear was to lose Gloria, and I guess she hoped that in a few years she’d be back. That didn’t happen, and I blame Kura and William for what befell Gloria after she escaped. They were so selfish that they couldn’t care less if their daughter was happy or what she wanted. So I think Marama was unfair to tell Gwyneira that, or at least, I think so.
As for Jack, Gwyneira knows that he has been wounded, but he hasn’t written yet. I wonder what has happened to him. Gwyneira fears that he might have lose an arm or a leg, but she’s glad he’s alive. I hope Jack is sent home with his mother and Gloria soon.