I have to say that I found that the characters were so selfish at the end of the book. I liked Nancy, but she wasn’t very likeable as the book progressed. When Jim inherits his brother’s house, he wants to move and live there with Nancy. It’s nice that he includes her in his plans, but then when he tells her, she doesn’t choose the best moment as her mother is dying. She keeps saying that she is torn what to do, and she insists that Jim isn’t pressuring her, but I believe he does. Her mother is dying, for goodness’ sake!!! His thoughts are far from charitable, and even though he expresses thoughts of compassion for Frances, he is not so generous in his inner dialogue. When it is Nancy’s birthday, he has some tickets for a concert, but at the last moment Frances feels really bad and Nancy decides not to go. Jim insists that Louise could look after her grandmother, but what woman in her right sense could enjoy a night of fun, leaving her mother so sick? I think Jim was so selfish in this instance.
Frances dies of cancer, and after the funeral Jim goes to France. Nancy keeps promising she will go, but then a crisis with her daughter thwarts her plans. Ross’s restaurant is busted, as they don’t have money to pay for utility bills or the staff, and Ross goes missing for a while. He turns up a couple of days later, showing signs of a nervous breakdown. Nancy and Jim talk on the phone, and he even volunteers to go back to England, but Nancy refuses, saying it is not necessary. I think Jim didn’t need to have asked her and jumped into a plane and go to her side. In the end things cool down, and Nancy thinks she can’t do everything, her family and Jim, and she decides to call it a day.
I have to say that I can’t understand these two people. Although Nancy keeps saying that Jim has never pressured her on the move to France, the mere fact that he is living there he is making a point. I don’t understand him at all. He gets into his head to go to France where he has nobody, no friends or family, and fantasises about success in music. Why would things be different in France if he hasn’t succeeded as a musician in his own country? Why force Nancy to live away from her family instead of reaching a compromise? If he doesn’t feel comfortable in the cottage, now that he has the house in France and money, he could sell the house and buy something else in Brighton? Nancy doesn’t need to live next door to her daughter, but he must understand that she would like to be close to her family. Why can’t they get a place of their own near where her family is? His sense of family is not the same as hers, and he hardly gives a thought to his son.
In the end, after months of separation, he sends her a video on which he sings and asks her to give their love a go. Then Nancy books a ticket in the next flight to Marseilles, and she and Jim end up together. It is not clear what they will do in the end, if she will submit to his wishes and live in France, or they will reach a middle ground.