Things are going well in Hester’s career. She is about to have her first main role, and she is excited. It is around this time that she meets Edmund, the composer that becomes a staunch friend for decades. It is through Edmund that she gets to meet Adam Lennister. Edmund knows the Lennisters, and as a birthday present Virginia Lennister will have some pieces performed by a few ballerinas from the company. One of the dancers is Hester, and it is after the job is done that she gets lost in the house and runs into Adam. For the first time Hester feels a flutter in her heart when she is with Adam.
This is a turning point in Hester’s life. Adam starts writing to her, and on the night of her debut as main ballerina, she is worried because Adam and his wife will be there. She talks to Dinah, who tells her to be careful, but deep down Hester doesn’t want advice. Two days later she agrees to have dinner with him, which ends up with a kiss. Adam goes to the theatre every day, and then they get together. He finally takes her to a flat he has in the city, and what is expected happens.
After that, Adam keeps promising that he is going to leave his wife, and Hester believes him. However, her friend Dinah thinks he is stringing her along. Hester is too besotted, and even when Adam proves that he is not trustworthy, she keeps coming back to him. Then what I also suspected happens. Hester gets pregnant, and she learns about her condition when she is touring with the company. When she returns to England, she is afraid to tell Adam. Her fears are confirmed when Adam reacts in shock and tells her that he can’t leave Virginia. Apparently, Virginia had a miscarriage recently, which left her unable to have children, so Adam thinks he can’t leave her as his wife might even attempt against her life. Hester is incensed and tells him never to talk to her again, and if he dares to approach her, she will tell Virginia everything.
Hester finds herself in deep trouble. When she last talked to Dinah, her friend guessed that she was with child and gave her the number of a doctor who could ‘solve’ her problem. Hester decides she will have an abortion, and she makes an appointment, but when she is there, she loses her nerve and realises that she wants her baby.
Hester then decides to go to Madame Olga, who welcomes her with open arms. Madame Olga is initially shocked and disappointed, but then she tells her that she will support her any way she can. Olga talks to Piers, and they decide that Hester will have to be discreet and keep away from the press. Even though Hester loves Madame Olga as she were her surrogate mother, they have a few arguments. Olga thinks that Hester has to give the baby away because if she keeps the baby, she will be ruining her career as a ballerina, and according to Olga, anybody can be a mother, but only a few people can dance as Hester does. Hester gets upset and she cries that nobody will take her baby as she plans to be a mother. She thinks that she can hire a nurse while she is working.
When the time for her to have the baby comes, Hester goes to Scotland with Ruby. She is there for a few weeks, and then Madame Olga comes for the birth. One of Olga’s old friends, a doctor, Dr Crawford, has been looking after Hester. Then on Christmas Eve Hester is woken by terrible pain, and as she gets out of bed, she notices that her head hurts terribly and she sees some strange lights. Ruby calls the doctor, and they rush Hester to the hospital as the doctor fears she is suffering from eclampsia. Hester is unconscious for three days, and when she comes to, she is told that her baby is dead. Hester is very upset, and she even goes to a nursing home for a while. She doesn’t remember giving birth or the baby, and she can’t even go to the funeral as the day when her baby is to be buried, she is overcome by weakness.
I wonder if Hester’s baby really died. Olga was too intent for Hester to have her baby adopted. What if she persuaded Ruby and Dr Crawford to lie to Hester, and while the baby was given in adoption, they made up the story about the child being born dead. After all, Hester never saw the baby. Something that made me suspect is when in 1986 Hester asked Hugo about his parents and he explained that he was adopted, and his adoptive mother had died recently. I have the hunch that maybe Hugo was the baby that Hester had on Christmas Day. That would mean that Olga, Ruby, and Dr Crawford did something terrible to her. If this is true, did Hester learn the truth? We know that Olga is dead, so maybe she told her the truth in her deathbed.
Apart from the story about Hester, in December 1986 Claudia Drake is behaving outrageously, treating her daughter hideously before everybody else. Then despite Hugo being there and Alison having a crutch on Nick, another dancer, she goes and has an affair with the aforementioned Nick. This woman is really self-centred and totally selfish.