I was under the misconception that Rose and Eve were around the same age. Yet, we learn that Rose is eighty-one, and we don’t know much about the background story of their relationship but for a few snippets from Rose’s memories. What we know so far is that when Rose was in her twenties, she used to lodge with Rose’s grandmother, Verity. At the time Rose’s only daughter, Meredith, was going out with a nice boy, but later Meredith dumped the nice boy and went out with Roddy, a hippy, which got her pregnant and abandoned her later on. It was during Verity’s funeral that Rose met Eve, who was heavily pregnant.
Apart from her relationship with Eve, we also get to know something about Rose’s past. In her twenties when she was living with Verity, Rose worked in a company run by a Greek man. I have the impression that the company’s range of business was imports. In this company there was another man, Henry, married and childless, but even though he was years older than Rose, she felt attracted to him. It was a bad idea to get involved, but when he invited her to lunch under some excuse, Rose couldn’t bring herself to refuse; actually, she never considered turning him down. Then in the restaurant he started talking about his father and the lover Henry discovered him by chance when he was a child, and then he kept going on about how years later he understood his father and envied that look he saw in his eyes, looking at his lover. It was clear then what Henry meant and what he wanted from Rose, and she responded by holding his hand, which means that she overlooked the fact he was married to be with him.
At present one of the framed photographs in Rose’s living room is Henry’s, and I have the impression that they lived a passionate love story. I don’t know if they had to separate because of their families, or maybe he died.
We also get to know more about Myles and his background. Unlike what I thought, he has three sons, not two, and his wife, Celeste, is a high-flying businesswoman. Myles is unhappy in his marriage as he feels his wife treats him as one more of her tasks in her daily life. We also get to know about another woman who marked his life. Her name was Louisa, and they were very much in love and moved in together shortly after they met. Yet, the relationship went bust when Louisa had an abortion without telling Myles about it. Myles felt betrayed because she hadn’t told him and also hurt because he would have wanted to have that baby. Louisa was a very ambitious woman, and the reason why she didn’t want a baby was because she wanted a promotion. Myles and Louisa broke up shortly afterwards. Then Myles met Celeste, who he married and had three children with. The ironical thing is that Celeste is not much more different from Louisa, as she is also ambitious and worries more about her work than Myles and their family.
At present we see how the ‘friendship’ between Eve and Myles starts. When one day Eve goes to visit Rose and doesn’t find her in the flat, she grows concerned and knocks at Myles’s door. The man tells Eve that he saw Rose go out a while ago. In Myles’s flat they make small talk, and they eventually exchange telephone numbers and email addresses. Eve’s excuse is that she might check with him about Rose, and Myles wants to give her some recommendations on books. We know that like Eve, Myles is attracted to her, and he doesn’t lose much time contacting her, and hinting that they could meet and exchange notes about the books.