New Book – The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton by Elizabeth Gill

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Publication year: 2014

The book I started this morning has two story lines so far, and it is set in 1919.

We are first to introduced to Lucy, who is studying in Durham University to become a lawyer like her father. She considers herself a plain woman who men would not look at twice, so she decides to follow what she had always loved: taking her father’s position. However, her life takes a turn for the worse. Her sister Gemma is to marry Guy, a wealthy guy, and Gemma bitterly confesses to her sister that she has taken responsibility for their family, and one of the reasons for the marriage is that their finances are in dire straits and Guy is a wealthy man. There is a lot of bitterness in Gemma towards Lucy, and nothing Lucy can say can make her sister mellow. And then the night before the wedding, Lucy is in bed and hears the door open and close, knowing that it is her sister coming back, and then she hears knocks. So thinking that it must be Gemma, she gets up from bed and opens the door. It is Guy, inebriated, and then he rapes her.

The following day when Gemma is to get married, the bride and her mother discover that Lucy has been sick. When her mother sees the blood from the rags that Lucy used to get cleaned, she accuses Lucy of having a boy in her room. When Lucy tells her the truth, her mother doesn’t believe her and hits her. The woman tells Gemma, who responds as snidely as her mother, and then her father asks Lucy to leave and never come back. I feel so sorry for Lucy. What a horrible family! Nobody tried to believe her, and after the humiliation of being raped, she had to bear more heartache. And now that her family has disowned her, where is Lucy supposed to go? She can’t go to university as I imagine her family won’t pay for her studies. So what is going to happen to her?

The other storyline features Joe, who has been in the war in France. He’s returning to England now, and he goes to his father’s house. When he gets there, the house is boarded up. Surprised, he goes to find his friend Toddy, who is also the brother of Angela, Joe’s fiancée. When Toddy sees him, he acts weirdly, and then ends up telling him that his father is dead; he committed suicide when he got bankrupt. Joe is shattered by the news, but Toddy delivers another blow. He tells him that now that he’s fallen from grace, his father won’t allow Angela to marry him and has sent her away. Joe is shocked and very hurt, but he finds himself in an impossible situation.

I wonder if these two doomed characters will meet eventually. For the time being, they are separated geographically. Joe is in London and Lucy is in Newcastle. I’m intrigued to see how like the title says, Lucy will rise after her fall.

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