I love Faith. She is such a sensitive, intelligent girl. She is convinced that her sister is on the island, and she tells them so, but they naturally don’t believe her. Instead, they try to make her understand that Eva is gone forever. Clara suggests they could go to the island to convince Faith that Eva is not there, but since the accident, Max is terrified of water.
Her parents’ attitude doesn’t put off Faith, who is intent to go to the island herself. So as she goes to the quay and checks the boats, she finds a boat she can use, but she isn’t strong enough to move it. It is then that she meets a boy her age, Fred, and then his foster brother, Joe. The pair tells Faith that they live in the caravan park with their foster family, and Faith gets to know baby Carol, five-year-old Penny, and the parents Sandra and Les. Faith becomes good friends with Fred and Joe, which is a good thing. Some of the girls of the village look down on Faith and insult her. One of them is Joanna, who Clara tried once to have them spend time together, but neither Faith likes Joanna nor Joanna likes Faith, and the playdate ended up with Joanna furious when Faith made her fall into the muddy river.
Now that Faith is friends with Fred and Joe, she decides to ask them for help. She wants to use the boat to go to the island, and Fred and Joe are encouraging and agree to help and go with them. The boys have never been on a boat before, and we know that Faith is scared of water, so I am afraid their adventure won’t end up well. But maybe if her parents have to look for her if their adventure goes awry, they might get to the island, and even though Eva is locked away, who knows if they will find her.
Another person who is causing trouble is Sophie, their French au pair. Faith notices things that her parents don’t. She saw Sophie wearing Eva’s pearls, but when she told her father and he asked the girl, apparently she claimed Faith had made a mistake. Faith knows that she hasn’t been wrong about Sophie, and she also sees some bangles of her sister round Sophie’s wrist, but she won’t tell anybody because she knows she won’t be believed. What she has also seen is that Sophie is too solicitous of her father, touching him and acting all soft around her. Faith confronts the girl, and Sophie tells her that she has never had a father, and she shouldn’t be jealous as she has everything. Yet, Sophie doesn’t like it, and she fears that Sophie wants her father for herself.
In the meantime, Eva is still in the pagoda with horrible Billy. The man is crazy. He believes a voice told him that he should go to the island and then he will save a girl. Now until the voice tells him what to do, he and Eva are to stay put. Eva is desperate. She is dirty, hungry, and misses her family. Once she heard some voices outside the pagoda, and she tried to escape, but Billy caught her, and in the process she hurt her knee, and now she has a limp. I wonder how she will be able to leave this crazy man!!
Apart from the events in 1984, we also get to read the background story of Clara and Max. Clara was raised in Egypt, and her parents were killed leaving a party when a group of terrorists set off a bomb. Then when she returned to England, she never felt at home with the relatives who raised her. As she liked reading, she tried to be an actress, and this is how Max met her. He and his mother went to see “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Clara was one of the actress. After the play, Max decided to meet the girl who had caused such a big impression on him. She agreed to have a coffee with him the following day, and she admitted that she wasn’t a great artist, but she loved the plays and the sense of camaraderie in being an actor. From then on they started corresponding as she returned to London. When she got fired, Max asked her to live with him, and shortly afterwards they got married. From the first moment Clara told him that she wanted lots of children, but she would settle for three or four. Not long after their marriage, she fell pregnant, but we learn that the pregnancy didn’t come to term, and one miscarriage was followed by several more. Clara was sad, and Max’s mother suggested adoption, which Clara embraced with open arms. It was one of Max’s colleagues that came to him with a possible solution. His sister had got pregnant and was in a nuns’ home for unwed mothers, and when she had the baby, she would have to give it away. So Max would only have to pay some money and the baby would be theirs. Max goes to see Suky, the pregnant woman, and she agrees to giving them her baby as long as she could see the baby from time to time.
So I was right about Eva being adopted. We learn she is very different in colouring to the rest of her family. She has light dark skin and hair, but we know that Suky is as pale-skinned and fair-haired as Suky, so Eva’s father must have been a black man. I have the impression that Max didn’t keep the promise to Suky that she could visit Eva. Maybe that is why they moved to Suffolk to run away from Suky.
I am loving the book!!! I wonder what will happen when Faith and the boys will take the boy and try to go to the island. And what will Sophie try with Max? Will she try to seduce him? I am afraid that he is in a bad place, and since Clara is grieving and angry with him, he might be an easy target. Oh please, don’t let that girl play more havoc on this family!!! And how will Eva be able to escape her captor?