There are not many surprises in this book.
Throughout the novel we expected Hester to hit at some moment, especially as she kept harassing Ian and his family and showing a nasty obsession with Anna. Then as luck would have it, Anna found herself alone – Alice went on a brief holiday with her family and their van broke down to foil her return, and then Ian’s mother had a bad fall, so he and Jess had to travel to Durham to be with her. I knew this was when Hester would show up, and I wasn’t wrong. Anna wakes up to find Hester in her bedroom, brandishing a knife. Anna tries to reason with her, but the woman stabs her. Thankfully, Alice returns soon and she is able to reduce Hester, getting stabbed in the process. Hester dies, but thankfully, Anna recovers. The end is quite bittersweet; there is great sadness as Ian and Anna return to the house where she almost dies, which they have sold. They are now free, but they have had to pay a high price for that freedom. I wonder if they will be happy.
Throughout the book we have seen their ups and downs, and Anna and Ian have fought in their marriage. They didn’t marry for the right reasons; I think they both wanted a companion, someone to mitigate their loneliness, and for a long time it seems they felt they had made a mistake. Yet, as the book progresses, both Anna and Ian learn to appreciate each other and leave the past behind. Anna was still in love with her late husband, a man who was a charmer, but cheated on her, but she idolized her; and despite the problems, Ian was also stuck in the past, tortured with guilt over Hester. I think it was when they decided to fight for the present instead of thinking about what ifs that they finally could find the right direction. That was before the attack, and I wonder if they will be able to regroup and find the right path again.