The end of the story is quite sweet and romantic.
The situation for Roman goes from bad to worse when he is sent to the youth centre where Jimmy’s nephew Marcus is. Marcus threatens Roman and makes him feel very afraid. Then things come to a head when Marcus attacks him with a razor blade and cuts him near his eye. Roman is sent to hospital. Cillian is outraged to learn that despite his warnings Roman was sen to the youth centre where Jimmy’s nephew was.
Seeing her son like that makes Rosa reach a decision. She will talk against Jimmy, and she tells Cillian that she did recognise Jimmy’s voice in the bank, and she has seen a scratch on his neck that Martha made when they struggled. Cilliam tells her she will look into it, and before leaving Rosa sees the photograph of the drawing that Cillian took in Lenny’s kitchen, and the woman says that she saw a similar one that belonged to Tobias Hartmann and she claims that the woman in both drawings is the same. By this time we know that Tobias is actually the artist of all these drawings, and the woman who appears in all his pictures is Mary Murphy, the nurse who helped him during the war and gave him back some sense in his life. After the war Tobias moved to Dublin and decided to find Mary, but her father told him that Mary had died of tuberculosis after she returned from the war. After that Tobias went to visit her grave, and it was there where he did his prints, and once an art dealer saw him and talked him into selling his drawings.
After the conversation with Rosa, Cillian gets a search warrant for Lenny’s house, and that is how he gets hold of the drawing and sends it to the lab to be analysed. Cillian also goes to see Rosa, and when nobody answers, he walks into it anyway and hears the confrontation between Rosa and Jimmy. The latter admits to having shot Mr Hartmann, and Cillian gets there in the nick of time to save Rosa from this man. Cillian arrests Jimmy, accusing him of armed robbery and assault.
Sadly, poor Tobias Hartmann dies, but his testimony won’t be necessary. After the results come back from the laboratory, Cillian has the proof that shows that the fingerprints of Tobias Hartmann, Jimmy, and Lenny are on the print, and with Cillian hearing Jimmy’s admission, he gets to clear Roman’s name. Roman is given a caution, but he is allowed to leave and go home.
Apart from the crime mystery, the problems of the other characters also have a very satisfactory resolution. Martha manages to get the details of Mathilde, Tara’s girlfriend. So she calls her number, but her calls go straight to voicemail, and then she writes an email, which remains unanswered. Yet, Mathilde turns up at her apartment unannounced. They try to see Tara, but visiting time is over. So Mathilde is adamant she will return to London as it is clear that Tara won’t fight for their love.
It is on their way back from the hospital that Mathilde asks Martha to stop at a pharmacy for some kind of tonic. It is when they are at the chemist’s that Martha meets Stella, Cillian’s girlfriend. Stella recognises her from the time when she was a TV reporter, and she introduces herself gaily, and she has no misgivings to tell her that she is late and that is why she is buying a pregnancy test, and how Cillian is even more excited than herself. We know that Cillian is not excited but horrified at the thought of Stella being pregnant as he doesn’t want to commit himself to her. Yet, Martha doesn’t know that.
Feeling unhappy when she leaves Mathilde in her apartment, she drives straight to her pub, intending to give in to drinking. The bartender that used to serve is not there, and the man behind the counter tells her that he knows her. He admits to going to the meetings of AA, and he has seen her outside in her car, which is what Martha does as a way to do something for her drinking problem. The man, Seamus, appears to be an angel put in the right place for Martha. He tells her that working in a pub is not a temptation, but a deterrent as he points at the drunkards in the place, and he also tells her that every day he is sober is a victory.
The next day ignoring Mathilde’s instructions to drive her to the airport, Martha takes her to the hospital where Tara still is. When they get to the room, Tara tries to make Martha go, but she won’t hear her. I imagine that seeing Mathilde there makes Tara reconsider, so she silently nods when Martha asks her if she wants her to tell her mother and sister. So Martha tells them that Tara is gay and is in love with Mathilde. As Tara expected, her mother doesn’t take the news well, but Tara has realised that she can’t hide behind her fears, and Mathilde is worth the pain. Martha also announces to Tara, Mathilde, and Tara’s family that she has finally admitted that she is an alcoholic and last night she finally went to her first AA session.
As for Cillian, he returns to Donegal where Stella and her very big family give him a very busy welcome. Cillian is uncomfortable with all the fuss Stella is making, and when they are alone, she tells him that she is not pregnant. Because of a renal infection, she was late. Then Cillian decides not to put off the matter any longer and tells her that things are not working and they can’t go on like that. What he doesn’t say is that he is not in love with her. Stella doesn’t take his words kindly and gets angry, and she says that this is because of the article Martha wrote. Stella is not very kind, calling Martha an alky.
When Cillian is left alone, he turns on the computer and finds Martha’s article. The piece is about regret, and in the article she admits to her alcoholism and keeps talking about all she lost on the way, and even she mentions the love of her life. After reasoning that Martha must be referring to him, he gets into his car and reaches Dublin at 3 in the morning. The buzzer for Martha’s apartment doesn’t work, so what he does is to hurl stones at her window, which wakes the other neighbours as well. When Martha appears at her window, there is a beautiful moment when he asks her if he really is the love of her life, and when she admits to it, he says that she is also the love of his life, so they finally rush to meet inside and they finally kiss. So romantic.
In the epilogue which is told from Tobias Hartmann’s perspective, it is Tara’s wedding, and she and Mathilde are finally married. Roman and his mother are also there. Rosa now owns a gardening shop after she sold the drawing that Tobias Hartmann left her in his will. Roman is now free and has got back his friends Adam and Meadhbh. And Martha and Cillian are together, happy and in love.
Apart from the epilogue, I would like to mention a scene which I found specially moving. After Martha has finally admitted to her alcoholism, she visits her mother just because she wants to, which is not something she used to do. They talk about Amelia, and Martha confesses she doesn’t remember her very much, and her mother surprises her with comprehension, telling her that she was only little, so it is natural for her not to remember much. Her mother also tells her she has read her article about regret and adds her father would be very proud. Then when something falls under the chair where she is sitting, Martha stoops and looks under the chair to find a box, and when she opens it, she discovers all her articles which her mother has kept for years, and she also discovers a drawing she made when she was small. In the drawing she can see her parents holding hands with two boys and a girl, who she thinks represents her brothers and herself, and then she see on a cloud she also painted a very tiny girl, and she realises that was Amelia, so she did really remember her. I liked that part very much and moved me to tears.
I really enjoyed the book. I couldn’t put it down and was eager to know what happened next until the end.