I really loved the book. Ernst turning up in London changes the dynamics in the dynamics between Klaudia and her father. We soon learn that when Ernst visited his father and Gwyn a second time, she confirmed that Klaudia was his. Ernst asked her to flee with him to America, but Gwyn felt he couldn’t leave Otto. Gwyn wanted to keep the truth from Otto. Yet, when on one occasion Erns and Otto were alone, Otto came to him with a gun, and we learn that Otto knew everything. He confessed that the night when Ernst and Gwyn made love, Otto returned home earlier as he didn’t trust Ernst, and he saw them together. Otto didn’t trust his wife, but Ernst, who he accused of seducing Gwyn and ruining her pureness. He knew all along that Klaudia wasn’t his, but Gwyn needed a child, and he was ready to overlook the rest. That time Otto ordered Ernst to leave, even resorting to threats, and in the end he did.
That was the last time Ernst saw Gwyn and Otto until now. Now he comes, hoping to see Gwyn and feeling broken to learn she is dead. Otto is not happy, naturally, but Ernst stays because Klaudia wants to. When Ernst has a fainting spell, they call the doctor. Ernst has cancer and not long to live. The doctor advises them to find a hospice or a private nurse. Despite Otto’s feelings, Ernst stays and hires a private nurse who comes to the house every day. He is bedridden as he racked by terrible pain.
Ernst and Otto eventually talk about the past; it is a very tense conversation in which certain revelations are made. Ernst explains that he hired a detective as he tried to find out what happened to Sarah and Daniel. The detective only found that the two siblings’ mother died, but Sarah and Daniel were moved to another camp, but he assumes that they died because nobody has heard from them. Ernst tells Otto that he also found out something about their parents; they were not foundlings, but illegitimate children of a powerful German officer and his mistress. What shocks Otto is that according to Ernst, their mother was a Jew and that is why the German officer’s wife forced him to leave her and then find a home for the boys. He actually paid the family who raised them. Otto refuses to believe that, but Ernst has no other proof that what Bettina, one of the daughters of the Meyer family told him when he visited her.
Otto also has some revelations when Ernst tells him that he has no reason to feel guilty as he was captured early in the war. Yet, Otto confesses that he killed two men before the war in the Krystalnacht. One of them was a teenager, and the other one was Daniel and Sarah’s father. At the end of the conversation Otto even says that Gwyn knew everything he had done, but deep down he wasn’t repentant, and that was something that Gwyn would never have understood. I don’t know why but I felt sorry for Otto. He is the bad guy here obviously, but I think this was a damaged man, and deep down he was a lonely, miserable soul.
Klaudia and Ernst also talk, and after she learns that the perfume that her mother kept was a present from Ernst and realising that the medals were also Ernst’s, she has a suspicion. She asks Ernst if he was in a relationship with her mother, and he can’t deny, and when she next asks him if he is her real father, he also nods even though Otto has ordered to keep mum about it. What Ernst asks her is to help him to die because he can’t carry on. Klaudia is shocked but starts considering doing it, and Ernst tells her that the way to do it is by using the morphine that her nurse usually keeps in her bag. She will just need to steal the morphine and use an overdose, and nobody will be suspicious.
Klaudia is ready to do that for her father/uncle, and she takes the morphine. Nervous and anxious, Klaudia finds herself in the church she always went with her parents and tries to calm down. When she gets back to the house, she climbs to Ernst’s room, and when she enters, she finds Otto sitting by the bed, and when she looks at Ernst, she realises he is dead. The next thing she notices is the pillow in Otto’s hold, and it is clear that he suffocated his brother to death. Outraged, Klaudia lashes out at him, but she stops when the door ring sounds. When she opens the door, she is shocked to find Cosmo, who tells her that he has been looking for her all this time. It is through Shane that he got her address.
Cosmo turns up in a very delicate moment, but Klaudia is done with lies. She takes him up to Ernst’s room, and he takes charge. Cosmo tells her to call the paramedics, and then he realises that Otto is in shock. Otto pants for air, and when he goes out of the house, Cosmo realises that he is having a heart attack. In the end the two brothers die the same day. It is very emotional, and at the same time it is very sad. I feel very sorry for these two brothers. One might say that Otto is a horrible character, and it is true, but once again I can’t help but feel sorry for him. Despite what his brother said about envying him, I think that Otto didn’t really have much. He adored Gwyn, but when Ernst appeared, I think he knew he had lost his wife’s love, and he didn’t really have Klaudia. I know that it was his fault because he was never an affectionate father, but the problem with Otto is that he was damaged.
In the end Klaudia and Cosmo are together as they sort out everything after the two men’s deaths. Ernst appointed Gwyn as his heir, and in the event of her death everything will go to Klaudia. So now she has inherited Ernst’s fortune. She also sorts out the selling of her parents’ house, and another good thing apart from Cosmo is that she is finally accepted in the dance school.
I really loved the book. It was very moving and beautifully written.