I was surprised by a couple of bits at the end of the novel.
I didn’t expect George to be Jan’s estranged brother. So when George dies unexpectedly, Vivienne calls Jan, and it is through new re-connection between Jan and Vivienne that Donna sees William for the first time in two years. Now William is engaged to Silvia, who clearly is acting more and more like Vivienne in her pushy ways. William and Donna are torn because they think they love their partners, but they feel strongly for each other. Donna reaches the decision that she doesn’t feel romantic love for Bob, and they finally talk. Bob surprises her by guessing what she is fighting to accept: she is in love with William. He also reveals that he is in love with Lexie, which I already guessed. Bob encourages Donna to tell William about her feelings, but her attempt to do so is boycotted by Silvia, who had read the text message and deleted from William’s phone. So the woman goes to meet Donna instead and tells her that William doesn’t want to see her as she brings memories of the earthquake which are too painful to him. Sylvia has also bullied William into agreeing to move back to Perth with her, as she has been offered a great job there.
Then the second surprise comes. When Donna talked about her Wednesday visits, I thought she was going either to the cemetery or even visit her father (In the first chapter Catherine talked about her children’s father being in jail for arm robbery, but he was never mentioned again). I was wrong on both accounts. Every Wednesday Donna went to hospital as her sister Tina, who I thought had died in the fire, was alive but traumatised. After the fire she hadn’t spoken a word, so she was sent to a psychiatric unit, and it is now that Donna gets a call from the hospital, saying that her sister was talking and better. She rushes to see her, but she is sleeping. I would have liked to have seen an encounter between the two sisters, but we don’t get that chance in the book. Then Donna reaches a decision: she will tell William how she feels. It is today that he is leaving for Perth, so she gets Bob to drive her, and there she finds William and she pours her feelings to him. Then he confesses he is love with her, and he and Sylvia have broken up as he couldn’t bring himself to leave Dublin, and he had also found out about what Silvia did behind his back: read Donna’s text and warn her off. This part is romantic, but I think in real life I would frown upon it. Only someone crazy or reckless would rush to tell someone who apparently loves their partner and is starting a new stage in their life about love and feelings. Things worked out for Donna, but real life is not like that at all. I guess I would never do what Donna did.
The last chapter is in the same maternity leave that the book started in. Donna has just had a baby, and she and William get a visit from Tina, who is now fine, and Lexie and Bob who have also had a baby girl just a few weeks before. Nice end.