I have mixed feelings about the ends.
I love some of the twists, but I am sceptical about the others. I can quite believe that a young girl like Georgina would come up with a risky idea as she was threatened by Jerome after losing £4,000 worth of cannabis and other drugs, which she was supposed to sell. It’s difficult for me to understand that a teenager would be ready to get involved with someone like Jerome. I know that a girl used to having everything could feel rebellious when her parents cut her allowance, and her ambition clearly didn’t know limits.
It was Georgia who took Frankie with the crazy intention of claiming the reward money she was sure would be offered. Then when she was out of the class, a woman, who we later learn is Alice’s mother Penny and Helen’s friend Marion, intercepted her and took the baby. I found that part a bit implausible and contrived. How did Penny/Marion know that Georgia was trying to kidnap Frankie and not just taking her for some reason? How did she know Georgia wouldn’t speak up?
It was Helen who finally realized the truth when she found some photographs of Sean’s ex-wife. The police also found out who she is through Eileen, Sean’s mother, when they showed her the photograph Georgia took of the woman. It was after showing Sean the photograph as well that he decided to kill himself. I thought his death was a bit of a waste. Much later we learnt a possible reason why he topped himself. Apparently, Sean and Penny were half brothers, as she was the love child that Eileen had when she was young. She gave up the baby in adoption, and when Penny found Eileen, the older woman sent her away, not wanting anything to do with her. Yet, she didn’t count on Penny and Sean meeting and falling in love. Eileen cut herself off her son’s life, and only three years later she met Penny and realized who she was. Eileen blurted out the truth, and then Penny left for Australia leaving Sean and her daughter behind, and Sean decided to delete her from her life, telling her daughter and everybody else that he was a widower. I found that part about the incest a bit too much. I think that element crowded the novel a bit. I think it would have worked better to have Alice’s mother return but without the incest part.
Marion/Penny is found in a hotel. The police and Helen are there as she threatens to kill herself and Frankie. She is angry because she thinks Sean and Helen owe her, and Frankie belongs to her. Fortunately, Frankie is saved but Marion/Penny falls to her death from the roof the hotel. Even though Frankie is returned to her mother, this novel is far from having a happy ending. This family won’t be the same again, with Sean and Penny dead, Georgia disfigured after Jerome sent the dog after her, with Alice facing life with lots of problems… It is really sad.
At the very end we are left with a cliffhanger. Gill calls Patrick telling him that she is going to be released and she is looking forward to coming home. Patrick is left with confusion and unsure of what he wants. I can understand him perfectly because could he truly trust his wife now? Does he still love her? The only thing he knows is that he wants to see Suzanne, his boss who he has a flirtatious relationship with even though the woman is married. I have to say that I can’t really connect with Suzanne, or maybe we have seen little of her to want her in Patrick’s life. We don’t know much about Gill either, but from Patrick’s memories of his wife before her being sectioned, she sounds like a nice woman with a great sense of humour, which she seems to have lost after she had Bonnie. The way Suzanne is portrayed, I find her too cold and serious, and apart from her good looks, I can’t see why Patrick likes her so much.