The Lavender House 2

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Things are not easy for Nancy.

She and Jim get together after they meet a couple of times. Nancy is honest about her personal situation. Yet, Jimmy doesn’t tell her the truth about Chrissie. He is still married, and even though the marriage is only in name, they live together. I don’t know how Jim thought that he could get away with it without Nancy being any the wiser. I think that was so wrong of him. Naturally, Nancy learns soon. It is Mindy who learns the truth and tells her. Nancy is shocked and hurt, and she stops seeing him. It is not easy for her as she is in love with him, and even though she understands his reasons, that doesn’t justify his lies. It doesn’t help that neither Louise nor Frances like the man. Eventually, a month later she can’t snap out of her misery, and pushed by a comment from her son-in-law, she decides to talk to Jim and they get back together.

Jim is already sorting out his personal matters. Chrissie has agreed to give him a divorce, especially as she has hooked up with someone at work, and they have put the house on the market. Jim has seen a bedsit to rent, and when he sells the house, it is a let-down that he won’t be able to move in three weeks. At first, he is going to stay with a friend, but then Nancy tells him to stay with him for these weeks, and even though he feels unsure, he finally relents and accepts. In the end, the flat falls through, so Nancy tells her to just move in with her, and he accepts. It is clear that Jim is not comfortable living with Nancy as she doesn’t feel her cottage is his home, and it doesn’t help that her daughter lives next door, and Nancy is always ready to help her family. I have to say that I don’t like some of Jim’s attitudes because what Nancy is doing is what families do. He can’t expect to ignore her family just because he has come along. I like Nancy, but I’m not too smitten with Jim. I know he is a good man, but there’s something in him that doesn’t completely satisfy me. I don’t mean I hope he and Nancy will break up, but I don’t know. I just don’t love him as much as I love Nancy.

Nancy’s family is not without problems. Louise and her husband are going through a rough patch. He is obsessed with his restaurant, which is not making much profit, and when Louise tells him about some changes, Ross reacts angrily. Even though Ross is quite genial with other people, his attitude to his wife leaves much to be desired. He has shown vague signs that he can be violent; actually, in a fierce fight with his wife he grabbed his wrists violently, leaving marks there and insulting her. I think Louise is right, and I can imagine she doesn’t feel much loved when her husband doesn’t pay her much attention. I feel sorry for their two lovely little girls, who are so charming and cute, but I think their parents are not in a good place.

As for Frances, she is sick and she thinks he might have stomach cancer, but she refuses to go to hospital and have some tests. Nancy and Louise are worried about her, but there is nothing they can do to convince the old woman. In fact, Frances is taking some strong painkillers that a friend has given him, so he is using some drugs without seeing a doctor, which can be a very dangerous thing to do. Maybe Frances is not so sick as she thinks she is, but since she doesn’t let a doctor check her, she can’t know what is wrong with her.

In August Nancy and Jim go to France where his brother has a gite. This is the lavender house from the title. Stevie, Jim’s brother, has been depressed since his partner died in an accident. The man is not in a good place, and the day before Nancy and Jim are going back to England, he has a heart attack, and dies. Jim has stayed in France, sorting out Stevie’s affairs. I imagine that Steve must have bequeathed his house to his brother, and I imagine that now Jim will urge Nancy for them to move there. Nancy has already told him that it is not right for him to make her choose between him and her family, but if he puts forward that proposition, he will be doing just that. I understand that it is really romantic to be swept off your feet by such a dashing man, but maybe nobody has done that to me, but I find it difficult to believe that a woman or man could be just happy to live just with their partner and without their family. I guess I’m very family-oriented, but that is my opinion.

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