I was right in my suspicions. Hugo turns out to be the child Hester had and was made to believe he was dead. The truth comes out when during the costume rehearsal Claudia, the main ballerina, decides to wear a chain that belongs to Hugo. Ruby sees the chain that she recognises and faints. When Hester comes to the stage where Ruby has fallen, she sees the chain round Claudia’s neck and recognises it as the one who she asked to be buried with her baby.
In her office Hester calls Ruby, George, Hugo, and Edmund. The truth is finally revealed. Ruby is upset when she tells her about what she and Madame Olga did. Ruby had agreed to help Madame Olga to take the baby and give it in adoption, and lie to Hester. So this is what happened. The eclampsia that Hester had that night was just an addition that made it easier for the doctor to have her unconscious for a few days. The baby had already been given away, and the day of the funeral Madame Olga gave Hester a pill that made her feel weak, so she had to stay in bed. Ruby also tells her that they had even arranged for a grave to be there in case Hester wanted to see it. Ruby tells Hester that she has felt guilty all her life, and she was afraid of losing Hester if she told her what had really happened, and the worst bit was that she didn’t even know where Hester’s baby had gone. Now Hester understands why in her deathbed Madame Olga wanted her forgiveness.
I have to say that Hester takes this revelation with too much calmness. I would have been more upset to discover that the people I regarded as my friends had plotted to steal my baby. At the end of the book Hester even tries to convince herself that what happened was for the best as she couldn’t have been a good mother while being a dancer. That is a small consolation because she had been robbed of all this years, and it should have been her decision, nobody else’s. And it was a stroke of luck that she finally got to know her son.
Apart from the drama, the novel finishes with some love stories. Hester and Edmund finally confess their feelings for each other after thirty years of friendship. I like Edmund and I am glad that he and Hester finally got together. Hugo also decides to split up with Claudia as he has fallen in love with Silver, and the young woman is also in love with him.
One of the characters I liked best was Alison. I think she was a lovely character, given how horrible her mother is and how she treated her.
I enjoyed the story. I loved the parts in the past than the ones in the present, and I felt the end was a bit too melodramatic for my taste.