RATING: VERY GOOD
I really loved the ending. Things come to a head the day Caitlin goes to check the builders, but instead of waiting for the foreman, she goes to meet Lee. Patrick tries to contact her, but since she doesn’t answer, she decides to go and find her. So when he gets there and finds her with Lee. There is a scene between the two of them as Patrick and Caitlin fight, and Lee makes a few comments that even irritates Caitlin. This is the end of any possible liaison with Lee, and Caitlin realises that she doesn’t care. The fantasies she had about Lee in her mind were more interesting than the reality. We also learn that Patrick knew about Caitlin’s lies and her encounters with Lee. We have to say that Caitlin wasn’t quite clumsy as she came from her zumba classes without her gear and looking like a rose.
Then Caitlin realises that Eva, who has stayed with the children, has tried to call her and there a few missed calls. So she phones back, and Eva tells her about Nancy speaking, and then she tells her the incident that has taken place in the house. While she was talking on the phone, Joel came to tell her that there were cows on the lawn, and thinking that he was joking, she went and saw that it was true. There were a couple of cows and a bull on her lawn, and the worst was that her dogs were outside. Fearing the worst she ran to rescue her dogs from being trampled down, and it was in that moment that she saw that Nancy was also there, calling the dogs. Moved by the little girl’s voice and scared, Eva ran and got the dogs and the girl to safety. As she tells Caitlin about the incident, Caitlin, who is upset after the confrontation with Patrick and angry with herself, unloads all her anger on Eva, telling her that she will never let her children be with her alone again.
After this day things are not easy. Patrick hires a solicitor, and despite her feelings, Caitlin finds herself calling her mother for help. Patrick is thinking to move closer to Bristol as she doesn’t trust Caitlin with the children, and his solicitor is demanding shared custody. Caitlin is scared, and when she goes to see her mother, there is a nice moment. I think the problem with Caitlin is that she assumes too many things as facts, and she doesn’t consider talking to those she cares about. The conversation with her mother shows that Lynne loves her, and she keeps telling her that despite everything, she is proud of her.
Now that the ball is rolling, Caitlin feels she has to tell something to Joel. She is afraid she might lose custody if she makes more mistakes. So she tells Joel about his father moving closer, but she has to confess that Patrick and she won’t be living together, and she implies that maybe he will be asked what he and Nancy want.
The following day Patrick and she meet for mediation, and when the session finishes, they get an urgent call from Joel’s school. The boy claimed that he had a dental appointment, and his mum was waiting for him in the car, so he escaped from the school without anybody being any the wiser. Patrick and Caitlin rush back, but there is still no news from Joel. They go to pick up Nancy, and they try to ask her if she knows where Joel is, but Nancy won’t talk. Caitlin thinks that her daughter knows where Joel is, so Patrick comes up with an idea. They call Eva and tell her to bring the dogs as the little girl seems to feel free to talk to Bumble.
When Eva gets there, she gets to the room where the girl is, while Patrick and Caitlin keep listening through an app as the dog has a microphone attached to his collar. Eva tries to coax Nancy to speak, using a voice as if it were Bumble who were speaking. Little by little the girl starts talking, and her parents and Eva cry silent tears as she says that her wish is for her father to return home. She also says that it was her fault that bad things keep happening; she wished her father would disappear, and he did; she wished she could see a fire engine, and the kitchen ceiling fell and a fire engine appeared. That is the reason why she stopped talking because she was afraid that if she spoke, bad things would happen. Then she finally explains that Joel is at the station, waiting for Caitlin as he was worried about what will happen during mediation.
Patrick and Caitlin rush to find Joel, who was exactly where Nancy had told them. After that, things become easier. Some days later Patrick and Caitlin meet to talk alone. They finally talk for real. Patrick has come to realise that he has been wrong about the way he has handled their family. Since he has always looked up to his father, who was a workaholic, he thought that the best way to look after his family was to work all hours so that they want for nothing. Days before Patrick had talked to Eva, and she had told him that he had things wrong; their father was not the ideal image that their mother had drawn after his death. Actually, she remember hearing her father saying that he had never wanted the children, and he was always in his surgery because he didn’t want to be with his children. Now Patrick confesses to Caitlin how he now sees that he was wrong to focus all his energies on work. There is a lovely moment in which he also says how hard it was to see he didn’t make her happy, which was what he wanted above everything else. Caitlin is moved to tears, and she also admits her own mistakes, and she swears that there was never anything with Lee.
In the end there is a lovely reconciliation. In the last chapter Nancy is going to perform in the school function, and her family are there to watch her. Caitlin and Patrick are together and in love, and Caitlin and the children are moving with him to Worcester, where he has been transferred.
As for Eva, she and Alex also end up together. Alex discovered that Mick had had a vasectomy a few weeks before they first met, so their agreement not to have children was not a true agreement as Mick couldn’t have children. Eva was upset after Alex told him the truth as she felt that Mick hadn’t been honest with her and in a way had snatched her chance to be a mother. Then in one of his old jackets she discovers a letter, in which Mick tells her the truth and asks for forgiveness. Somehow this brings some peace to her, and I think that she comes to terms with his death, and it is this peace that makes her call Alex and ask him out.
I loved the book. The parts about Eva and the publication of diaries were not as interesting as the sections about Caitlin, Patrick and the children. Yet, I really loved Eva; she is one of the most interesting characters in the book: warm, affectionate, intelligent, and very sensitive. My other favourite characters are obviously Nancy and Joel. The children are portrayed so beautifully. I also love Patrick and Caitlin, but their bad decisions made things very difficult, and it is curious that I didn’t like Patrick very much at the beginning, but as the novel progressed, I start to dislike Caitlin more and appreciated Patrick more.