The last part of the novel is a bit of a tug of war between William and Karen. She finally locates his friend, Alistair, but he refuses to tell her where he is. Even after she visits Alistair, who allegedly tells William about her being in Hastings, William doesn’t try to contact her. If I had been her, I had stopped then and there. However, at Christmas when she is alone, she decides to give it another go and find Alistair at the soup kitchen he usually volunteers in. This time William turns up, and they talk.
William’s reasoning is kind of chaotic. He talks about their relationship in the past tense, and he tends to think that Karen loved him because he was a vicar, but that time is over. Karen tries to reason with him, but it is impossible. The following day, Karen, who has stayed over in Hastings, gets a call from William, who wants to meet her as he has something to tell her. When they meet at the hotel, he tells her that Alistair thought that she should know something. William is ill with a type of cancer, which can be controlled, but life expectancy is from five to ten years. He also tells her that things between him and Janey had been wrong for a long time, and when he got the results of his tests, Janey wanted to stay with him, but he didn’t want her or anybody to pity him. That is what he doesn’t want from Karen either, and even though she assures him that she loves him no matter what, William is frustratingly stubborn.
Karen feels miserable, and not wanting to return to her empty house – Sophie is spending Christmas with her mother – she drives to Mike’s café. She finds him there, and he has news. He has sold the café as he was fed up with it, and he explains that he wants to start a new business, cupcakes, this time, and he suggests she could run the technical part of the business as he is not good with computers, and Karen agrees.
Months spend, and even though Karen can’t stop thinking about William, she now has an aim, the cupcake shop, which they open in spring. Then one day William walks into the shop with a little girl. There is an awkward moment, and William explains that the girl is Alistair’s niece. When he leaves, Karen hopes he will return but he doesn’t. However, he texts her, asking him to meet her. They do so the following day on the beach, and they keep quiet for a while. Then William can’t bite his tongue any longer, and he finally confesses his feelings and how afraid he has been, thinking she might have moved on and found someone else. So they end up together.
The epilogue is four years later. William has died, but it is not a sad ending. Karen feels that she has been very happy with the time she and William had. Here Karen watches a video that William left her, telling her how much he loved her from the first moment he set eyes on her, and how he will always be with her. Then she runs to the beach, and as she stands there, she feels William there with her.
Apart from the story between William and Karen, I also like Sophie and how she changed so much, and how her relationship with Karen improved. A turning point is when Sophie’s Greek grandmother dies, leaving her an apartment and some money. So Sophie decides to invest the money in her education, and at the end of the book she studies something related with architecture and design, and when William dies, she is married to Daniel, who she met through her new job.
I liked the book, but I found William’s attitude irritating. I also found Karen frustrating at times when she kept pursuing William even though he had done nothing to find her. In the end it was a nice love story.