The end is lovely. Pearly and Eliza see Steiner being led to the ship that will take him to Seattle to be judged. It is as he sees Cilla, the prostitute he spent a wonderful time the night he was arrested, that he recognises Pearly, and then he even recognises Eliza, who has turned into a different woman. The man even laughs to himself, realising that the three women who have meant something in his life have come together in the end. From his memories we know that he ran away from Orcas Island after he did away with his uncle’s money, and he also played dirty with his fiancée. He got her pregnant and then fled. The man is really a nasty piece, and I am glad that Eliza got away from him.
Eliza keeps her secrets, and she realises that all her secrets are about the men of her life: Gideon, who raped her and got her pregnant, Steiner, who she thought she could marry, Dr. Phillips, who she secretly fancied, and Joseph Burns, who she loves and who made her feel like a real woman. After he got the letter from Joseph, who tried to apologise for his bold behaviour, Eliza replies, putting all her heart there and daring to tell him she loved their time together and hopes to see him again. She even encloses her portrait.
On New Year’s Eve Eliza gets some news that shakes her world. Pearly and Shorty announce they are leaving for the north and getting married. Eliza is happy for them but she knows that life in Skagway won’t be the same without her friend.
The epilogue of the novel is in March 1900. Eliza is now married and expecting a child. Joseph returned to see her, and they spent three days making love. Joseph wanted to marry her, but she put off the moment as she had to sort out her matters in Skagway. Yet, a few months later she travelled to Seattle where she married the man she loved. The last part of the book shows Eliza giving birth to a baby girl, who she names Pearl after her dear friend.
I really loved the book. At the beginning I was not sure what the book would be about, but as I got to know Eliza and her life, I really loved every minute. A wonderful read!!!