The end was lovely.The story takes a sad turning when Claire was diagnosed cancer, and her family believes she will die. I think Claire was the best of the sisters. All through the novel she is there for all her family; she always has a word of wisdom to impart, a smile, some humour, and she is really clever. Even though Kitty is the main character, even she admits that Claire is much better than her. I was dreading what would happen to Claire, and for one moment she got really sick after her last session of chemotherapy. Thankfully, that was reaction to the drugs, and Claire finally is on the mend.
At the same time as Claire is going through a terrible time, Kitty gets to meet Faith’s eldest son from her first marriage. He has been living in Hong Kong for years, and now he is taking six months’ leave. Apparently, Faith thinks Kitty can be good for her eldest son, but Kitty and Charlie agree to remain friends. Kitty helps him to find a house to buy, and as they become closer, Kitty starts to have feelings for him. Encouraged by Claire, Kitty tells him they should marry, but poor Kitty is turned down. Charlie explains that he has been in love with a married woman, and now he is finally divorcing her husband. Actually, Charlie and this woman had a child, Jennifer, who died of leukaemia. As I was reading the part about Charlie, I wondered why this character was included in the book as his presence is brief and of no consequence. Yet, after considering this point, I think Charlie played a double role. First, his refusal to marry Kitty made her see how badly she had treated Con when he proposed, and secondly, Charlie acted as the distraction she needed to forget Oliver. Now Oliver has finally got over her, and he is finally happy with Eve, who is pregnant again.
The end of the book is in August 1981. This chapter is from Claire’s perspective. The family have gathered at Kitty’s for lunch. Claire is fed up with everyone asking her continuously if she is fine. Claire also makes a discovery that day. She has always been suspicious as Jake looks so much like Oliver, but she couldn’t think how he could be his father as the Knowles got into contact with Kitty again after she was pregnant. But then Eve mentions Brady having sent a bracelet for her new baby, Zack. She explains that Oliver was in Belfast at the same time as Kitty was there for Michael’s funeral, so Claire puts two and two together. She realises that Jake is Oliver’s brother, and even though it is surprising to think that Kitty could have an affair with someone half her age, she couldn’t put it past her sister. Yet, Claire reflects she won’t tell anybody she knows, not even her sister.
At the end of the book the three sisters – Aileen is back in Australia, married to a rich man – and Marge talk as the men have gone to the pub and Eve and Oliver have left. Claire speaks her mind about how silly Kitty has been for letting a man like Con escape. Marge and Norah agree with that. Then when the men return, everybody is ready to go home, but Claire pointedly insists Con stay with Kitty, and he agrees. It is when Claire is at home and in bed that she starts wondering about the dress she is going to wear at Kitty’s wedding because she is sure that there will be a wedding before the year ends.
I really love the book. Kitty wasn’t all good, but I loved her independence and also her mistakes. I really enjoy books about families, in particular sisters. I don’t have a sister, and when I read books about sisters, I always wish I had a couple of them.