I have to say that I don’t like Rachel very much.
I feel for her after what she went through after Emma died. Yet, her behaviour makes her very dislikeable. She flees from everyone who cares for her, and like her mother rightly points out, she only thinks about herself, and never once has she considered others in this book.
When Jen and Mariel visit her after years respecting her wishes to be left alone, Rachel is so cold and curt towards them. The poor women have no idea how to treat her, and in particular, Jen gets only flak from her old friend. Rachel makes them feel unwelcome, and it is no wonder that they only stay on the island for a couple of days.
The novel then drags a bit for my taste. Then there is the business with Palmer, the private detective. Rachel decides he can’t continue spying on her friends’ daughters since she now realises that she wouldn’t have liked anybody keeping constant watch on her daughter. So the next time she visits her mother, she sees Palmer to tell him that their arrangement is over. Yet, she feels attracted, but she is unable to talk and tell him that she wants to keep in touch. I really find this story quite strange. Rachel has only seen this man a bunch of times, and of course she can feel attracted to him, but what kind of relationship could she offer him when she is thousands of kilometres away and seems unable to keep in touch with her old friends? Then she does something really peculiar; when they say their goodbyes, she starts to follow Palmer. To what purpose? It is not clear. Strangely, Palmer’s destination is Rachel’s former house, the one she shared with Oliver. Why? I don’t know either. He simply stays there, and then she just goes. I found this episode really strange.
Years pass. In Santorini Ingrid is engaged to Christos, Rachel’s landlord. Then a journalist appears, intending to interview her as Oliver is now into politics. Naturally Rachel won’t talk to the man, and then when she checks information about Oliver on the net, she is shocked to find out that Oliver is in a relationship with Jen, her friend. Rachel knew that Jen and Bob had split up, and Jen has kept the friendship with Oliver, bringing him to the church she attends.
After learning about the affair, Rachel is distraught and angry. I can’s say I understand her. She abandoned her husband and didn’t deign to talk to him even once in all these years. What did she expect? Furious, she calls Palmer, accusing him of keeping this from her. She is naturally wrong as Palmer is not working for her any longer, and as he points out, he was never hired to keep tabs on her husband. When Rachel calms down, Palmer tells her that Jen is leaving the flat that Rachel arranged for her to live in after the separation from Bob, and she is moving in with Oliver.
Then Rachel gets a letter from Oliver, asking her to make their separation legal. So they meet in London, and for once Rachel silently admits her blame and how she treated Oliver. The way she acts even now makes us thing that she is the only one who suffered with Emma’s death. She has the nerve to ask Oliver if he ever thought about Emma, and of course he gets angry. It is clear that what Alyssa told her daughter is so true, the problem with Rachel is that she is selfish and has only thought of herself. I know that a child’s death is terrible and the worst that can happen to a parent, but in her grief she only thought of herself and never stopped to wonder what Emma’s death did to the others.
Now in the last chapter she is surprised when Cat, who is now sixteen, appears in her shop in Santorini. The reason the girl has come is to ask her to do something about Oliver and Jen’s affair. Apparently, both Cat and Daisy don’t approve, and Daisy has even stopped talking to her mother. Cat thought that if someone could do something was Rachel, so without telling her mother where she was going on her Easter break, she flew to Santorini. Naturally Rachel tells her that she can’t do anything because she and Oliver are already divorcing. I think Rachel is happy to have the girl there as if she could see Emma in her.
In general, I have to say that I am not enjoying the book as much as the other book I’ve also ready by this author. There are parts which I found dull and uninteresting, at least for me. There are some parts that don’t add much to the story. The part about the shop, Ingrid or Christos are some examples that I found boring. Well, I liked Ingrid, and I think she was good to Rachel, but I found some of her parts too long.