I have mixed feelings about the ending.
It was obvious that Viv would fall in love with Gil, but I didn’t want her to leave her friend Ellen behind. Gil was a nice man, but I wasn’t too besotted with him. Viv kept telling herself that she forgot about herself when she married Ray and she had to compromise to please him. Yet, I see that in the end she had to forget about her life to be with Gil. Her best friend, her two children, and her her friends were all there in England, but she wasn’t bothered to sacrifice all that to be with the man she loved and moved to the other side of the world. Maybe the place where she ended up living was paradise on earth, but as she told Emma before, your home is where your heart is, and however romantic you want to be, I think a person needs more than another to be properly happy. I don’t think Gil had to sacrifice so much because I had the feeling that he didn’t have such a great relationship with his son, and he only had his farm. He could well have sold it and moved with Viv to England. I also find that the way he described his lifestyle was a big lie. I get the impression that his farm was huge and he had to look after 2000 sheep. Working as a farmer is hard work, but as far as we know, he didn’t have any help or other workers, and he talked about his job as if it was an easy ride. I doubt that very much. In that sense, the book depicted the situation as a utopia.
One of the characters I liked the least was Emma. I found her so stupid, and she acted as if she were thirteen instead of thirty. The episode in which she springs her estranged father on her mother as if it were the nicest surprise beggared belief. How could she think that her mother could jump in joy to see the man who walked out on her and left her stranded? How could she be so stupid? I didn’t have a good opinion of her already with the way she announced her marriage to her mother, but this just took the biscuit!!! I can’t understand how her mother could be so understanding with her. And then she snubbed her mother when she asked her father to go with him to Australia. I just didn’t like her. At least, she finally realized that she couldn’t marry Michael.
I felt very emotional when Ellen returns home alone when Viv decides to stay behind with Gil. Then when they talk on Skype, it is the moment when, despite Viv’s promise to retrun in a few weeks, both friends realize that it wont happen. I felt more moved by these two women’s friendship than the love story, to be honest. There was more chemistry between them, which I think was the great love story in this book, and not the romance in New Zealand.
I love the chapter a year after after Emma’s failed wedding. Everybody goes to New Zealand to attend Viv and Gil’s wedding. Ellen and Trevor are the first to arrive and surprise Viv. Then we learn that Aaron and Lizzie had a baby girl, and Lizzie and her grandmother-in-law have a better relationship, as her maternity made them closer throughout the miles. Emma is now with the boy who was her all-time mate, Shaun, her neighbour and the friend who was always there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on, and on her mother’s wedding day she announces that she is pregnant.. I loved those bits. It was a nice ending.