RATING: VERY GOOD
I finished the book tonight. I really loved it, and it kept me hooked until the very end.
One of the turning points for Allegra is when the police find her and Ian Coburn sitting on the car bonnet in their underwear, Allegra smoking a spliff and a gram of cocaine in the glove compartment. Allegra’s parents are called in the middle of the night, and Eddie has to go to the station for the girl, and naturally, Allegra is grounded. A photo of Allegra and Ian in their underwear starts circulating, and all of Allegra’s friends see it, including Brick. Logically, Brick doesn’t want anything from Allegra, and the rest of her friends go against her, sending her insulting texts.
Allegra feels very miserable, but in this crisis she and Hope start talking. Hope still doesn’t trust her sister, but she sees a great change in her as time goes by. First, when Hope tells her about the books that Benton recommended and she is reading, Allegra decides to follow her sister’s example. Since she is grounded and has no friends left, she enjoys time with her mother. And at the end of the book we find Allegra and Hope closer than ever, and even when they see Brick dating another girl, it is clear that both of them are over him. I am sorry that because of her sister, Hope lost Brick’s friendship and her chance with her, but in any case, I think Hope is better off without him as she would have been a replacement for her sister, and Hope is good on her own.
The matter with Allegra also means a turning point for Grace and Madeline’s friendship. Madeline feels for her son, and when Grace calls, she doesn’t mince her words, and they have a tremendous row during which Madeline calls Allegra a cheater like her mother. So this is the end of their friendship for a while.
Grace continues her affair with Benton, and she believes herself in love with him, and he also admits he is in love with her. Rumours about her start when she takes him as his plus-one for a garden party. Then when a newspaper comes to write an article about Grace’s garden, and in the article the photographs show Grace and Benton as if they were a couple. Naturally, everybody starts talking and rumour has it that Grace is having an affair with Benton.
When Grace shows Eddie the article, he doesn’t think much about it, but when his sister tells him that he should sort out things at home. So he drives home, sees Benton’s car, but there is nobody in the house. In the garden he sees the shed locked, so he knocks on the shed and tells Benton that he should go and expect no more pay as he has taken more than he should.
Eddie goes to his office, feeling bitter and silently admitting that he has neglected his wife. We learn later that he calls Benton and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t leave his wife alone. We also see that Grace wanted to leave Eddie, but Benton decided that he should leave. I think that the way Benton acted when Eddie knocked at the shed door disappointed her, and when she went to find him, his words about his business going to ruin if the truth were know also as quite a damper.
That night another event marked the life of the family. Eddie had to arrange another transaction with some rich clients and the Russian cleaners. The clients turn out to be FBI, so Eddie is arrested as well as the girls. When Grace is called to bail him out, she learns how dire their financial situation is and that is why Eddie go into this situation in the first place. I know that Eddie did wrong when he traded with these women, but despite everything, he is a good character. We learn that the person who reported him was his seventy-year-old secretary Eloise, who heard Barbie talking on the phone and it was clear what she and her brother were up to. The woman wasn’t all honesty as she only reported them when they didn’t bother to share the profits with Elosie, and as a revenge she called her son-in-law, who is a police officer.
In the end Eddie has to go to jail, and when Grace takes her to the courthouse, he speaks to her, explaining what took place between him and Benton in his office. He called Benton and threatened him with death, and he meant it. Yet, he tells Grace that he knew that Benton was in love with her, and that is what annoyed him more. Now that he is on his way to prison, he tells Grace to go with Benton if that is what she wants. In the epilogue we don’t know much about Grace’s intentions, but as far as we know, she stays on Nantucket and we understand that when Eddie is released from jail, she and the daughters will be there for him.
The good thing about the end of the story is that Allegra and Hope become the sisters that should be, or at least, there is the germ for some long-standing close relationship. I also love the way they react to their father having to go to jail, and their comfortable position going downhill. Grace and Madeline also make up, and Madeline finally decides to pull off the novel and write a prequel of her great success. Madeline even gives Grace the manuscript of the novel as a symbol of her regret, and when Grace reads about her story and the happy ending, she even goes to her friend to hug. I think that even though Grace had to give up on Benton, this is like a little reward for her low spirits.