I have to say that I was wrong.
From the snippets and information we get about Bill and Connie’s affair, I had the idea that Connie was just obsessed with Bill because he was her sister’s husband. I was wrong, and I think their love story is beautiful. We see them trying to keep away from each other until they run into one another in that party and they couldn’t help but fall into each other’s arms. The book brings about Connie’s memories about the affair, and I love the conversation between them that night. Bill admits to loving Jeanette but he thinks he married the wrong sister. He never thought much of Connie , just that she was a kid, until the day of the accident and when they first kissed. Bill tells her that she and Jeanette are opposites. While Connie is dark in the outside but light inside, darkness dominates Jeanette inside. He talks about her dark moments, her anger, and he understands her feelings as it must be frustrating to be her.
The affair ends fourteen months later. Connie and Bill only meet in the few moments he can escape from home, or when he is away for work, they can snatch the odd night together. They manage to spend three days together in Rome, and when they are back in Heathrow, they throw caution to the wind and hold hands and kiss, but then they are discovered by Elaine, Connie’s cousin, who snitches on them straightaway. Jeanette is naturally livid – we can’t excuse what Connie and Bill did, and they know they’re acting wrong – and from that moment Connie feels banished from her family. Jeanette goes to tell her what she thinks of her, and once again she makes her sister feel like a guest in her own family, reminding her that she should kiss the ground she walks on as she was allowed to be raised by her family and not the council. I can’t condone adultery even though I think Connie and Bill’s love story is beautiful, but I feel sorry for Connie as she keeps being reminded how she owes the Thornes for taking her in and at the same time they make her feel unwanted, reminding her of her mother’s desertion. I think that’s totally wrong because when you love someone and want the best for them, you don’t keep reminding them that they owe you their life. I can understand Connie felt like a charity case, and not part of a real family.
After the discovery Connie was banished from her family, but surprisingly, she was welcomed to join the family in important events like Jeanette’s or Noah’s birthdays. I find this surprising. If my husband cheated on me with my sister, I wouldn’t want to see her at all, and that person wouldn’t be part of my life at all. I like Connie, but I can place myself in Jeanette’s shoes, and I can’t side with Connie here.
We also know that after the affair was over, Connie threw herself into finding information about her origins. She contacted a journalist who published an article about her; she thought her mother could read that and contact her. I have not finished reading this part, but so far the only response came from Jeanette, who recriminated her for being insensitive to Hilda and her sacrifice. Then Connie got to contact Kathy, the back-then girl who found her with her boyfriend. This is the part where I stopped reading this afternoon, but I imagine Kathy can’t have told her much because we know that she didn’t know anything.
Connie’s love for Bill is tangible and strong, and even at present it is very real. There is a moment during Bill’s stay in Bali when he approaches and touches her, just a simple caress on her face, and the impossibility of their relationship and the realisation of their love is so hard that tears spring up to Connie’s eyes. I find this moment revealing, and with a supernatural effort she manages to pull away and leave the house. I think this shows the way Connie feels about Bill. It is beautiful and so sad at the same time.
In Bali Jeanette is in good spirits and seems to flourish. I think that it is nice that the two sisters get to admit their love for each other and their regret for their past of wrongs. Then Bill and Jeanette leave for England. Connie expects to join them in a couple of weeks, but Bill calls the night after they land in the UK, and he tells her that Jeanette has died. Nobody expected her to die so soon, and they are all heart-broken.
That same day there is some problem from Roxana’s side. Her ambition to better herself made her make a mistake. In Angela’s agency where she works now she got to meet someone who claimed to be a film director. This man, Cesare Antonelli, asked her for a drink, and Roxana foolishly believed all his talk about the possibility Roxana could work as a model or actress. Then he took her to see a alleged photographer, Phillip. The two men accompanied her in the taxi to Connie’s apartment, and they got out as well to Roxana’s chagrin. Roxana had no option but to invite them in. It was there that the problems started when Phillip started to rummage through Connie’s furniture. Roxana was not comfortable, and when Phillip almost forced her to let him take a photographs, she demanded the two men leave. Yet, Phillip wanted to go to the bathroom, and then they left.
Now the day Jeanette and Bill return to England, Roxana is with Noah and when they get to the apartment, they realise someone has broken in. Connie’s bedroom and music room has been burgled, and her computer and music instruments are gone. Roxana realises that it must have been Philip and Cesare – Phillip must have got hold of a spare set of keys when he pretended to be in the bathroom. I feel sorry for Roxana because I can imagine how bad she must feel about the whole matter, and facing Connie can’t be easy. Despite my sympathy, I have to say that Roxana acted too foolishly, believing the first man who filled her head with silly fantasies.
I am intrigued to know what is going to happen with Roxana, and also now that Jeanette is dead, Connie and Bill could have their chance to be together. Connie has said repeatedly that even with Jeanette gone, their love was impossible. I imagine that the reason for this is that Connie couldn’t bring herself to be happy when her sister was dead. It would feel wrong, and I can’t say I don’t understand her. Yet, I think that Jeanette would have understood and accepted that her husband and sister could have their chance if she wasn’t around.