The book continues interweaving past and present.
At present time Viola continues in hospital, and the description of her feelings when she thinks about food mixing with her organism is quite graphic and interesting. She finds the thought gross and disgusting. Her condition is quite delicate, and the last time Issy visits her, she is shocked to find her wired to more machines.
On her part Issy finds herself redundant when her new boss tells her that the magazine needs to make some changes. At first she doesn’t even tell her boyfriend, Ben, and she really struggles to come to terms with her new situation. I have the feeling that whatever happened in the past has affected the sisters in different ways. Viola’s symptoms are more obvious, but Issy hides herself behind a facade, but she is also insecure.
Now Viola has asked Issy to return to the Suffolk, where they used to live with their mother, and try to find the boys, Michael and John.
In the past we get snippets of their life back then. Rose, their mother, kept drinking, and her behaviour was often erratic. The girls became close friends with John and Michael, and one of the things we know about them was that their father beat them up, and when the man was around, they were told not to visit them. In the last chapter I have read, Rose announces one day that they are to have a picnic with Frank, her teacher from her woodwork classes. I imagine that Frank and Rose were having an affair. The picnic didn’t go well. Frank was a widower and took her seven-year-old daughter Polly to the picnic. The twins didn’t like either Frank or Polly. They found him dull and bland, and they thought Polly was too stiff and pedantic. I have the hunch that whatever happened back then might have something to do with Polly. Maybe the girls did something to her. During the picnic Polly explained that she couldn’t eat nuts as she was allergic to them, and when the girls went for a swim, she also told them that her dad didn’t let her swim in the sea because she could drown. These two statements makes me fear what might come. Maybe the sisters alongside the boys did something to that little girl, and that was why they were being questioned by the police in the first chapter. That might be the reason why Rose killed herself or why Viola changed from a quiet little girl into this unstable woman.