Queen of the Mersey 6

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Laura keeps the betrayal of her husband to herself first.

Then Vera notices her strange behaviour, and she finally tells her. Queenie has also guessed what has happened as she was there the night when Roddy drops the bomb, and Laura and he fought, and even though Queenie didn’t hear everything, she heard enough. So for a time only Vera and Queenie know. Then Laura announces she is pregnant after that possessive, passionate moment she last had with Roddy. Yet, she has no intention to tell Roddy, and she warns Hester against saying anything in her letters. Laura then has a baby boy she calls Gus.

The end of the war brings good news for Vera, whose children return safe and sound. Even the one they thought was missing and probably dead is also alive, and they got a letter from him. Apparently, he was rescued and helped by some French peasants. Lily, his wife, who Vera and Mary had to put up with, is over the moon, and the only downer is that when Charlie returns, they move above Laura when the Tylers leave, so Mary and Vera miss little Sammy.

Laura is living her life with her children. Helen is finally told about her father abandoning them, and the girl doesn’t take the news well, crying and swearing never to write to him again. Now Hester is twelve, and she has changed from the shy, quiet little girl she was to this determined one, and I think Mary’s influence is to blame for this change. Gus is also confused because he wants to know who his father is, but Laura keeps quiet. Roddy has written a letter to Laura, asking once again for a divorce and telling her that he is working with his brother, so he could pay her alimony. Laura has no intention to grant him a divorce as she has no intention to re-marry, and I can understand she doesn’t want to make things easy for him. I feel for her, especially as it seems that now his family has welcomed his mistress while Laura had to live on the sly for years. She is the lawful wife, and she and her children have to live as if they were castaways. Don’t her in-laws care about Hester at all? I really feel for Laura, and I hope that some day when Laura is happy again, Roddy will regret what he is doing.

A good thing for Laura is that he is going to study to be a teacher, and she has been accepted. The man who interviewed her was quite impressed with her qualifications, so I am sure she is going to be an excellent teacher when she gets her certificate. I think this could be the start of something big.

With the end of the war there are changes for Queenie as well. Her boss retired, and he is replaced by Gordon Mackie, a nasty man who runs the department store as if he were still in the army. Queenie is moved to the basement to the hardware department, something which she hates. Nobody likes Mackie, and things come to head when the man makes a pass at Queenie, and she knows she has to leave the place. Thanks to Mr Matthews, she gets a job in a new department store, Freddy’s, the place where Laura and Roddy celebrated their wedding. She is the books department and has befriended the owner’s son, Steven. The first week she is invited to the owner’s daughter’s birthday party with the rest of the staff. There she gets to know the owner Theo Vandos, who she realises she met when she came for the interview, and she made the mistake of confusing him with just an employee. What Queenie finds it strange is how this family gives out bad vibes. Theo has two daughters, one beautiful and another plainer, and they seem to resent each other, and Steven also tells her that his mother also hates his father. I have the impression that somehow Queenie is going to get involved with this family even though she claims she wants to keep away from Steven and his circle of influence.

Queenie is now engaged to marry Jimmy Nicholls. He is still in Europe but is soon to be demobbed. I think Queenie is not in love with Jimmy, but she simply agreed to marry him because she think she will never find a man as lovely as Jimmy. I agree that Jimmy is nice, but that is not reason to marry him. I have the hunch that Queenie won’t marry Jimmy after all, and maybe the reason could be found in the Vandos family. I don’t think Queenie is attracted to Steven, but I had the impression that she was fascinated by Theo the first time they met and she didn’t know who he was. Maybe I’m wrong. Theo is old enough to be her father and married to boot, but who knows what the future will hold for these characters.

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