A Hidden Life 3 (Chapters 4 – 8)



Things are looking up for Lou. After being snubbed in her grandmother’s will, she is trying to make the most of her legacy, that is, the copyrights for her grandfather’s books. When she reads the first book, which is a fictionalised account of a child in a working camp in Borneo, she decides to write the screenplay. At the same time, her father gets a call from a publisher who tells him that they are going to reissue the books. When she finishes the screenplay, she uses the information that Harry gave him about a Hollywood producer and his address. She plans to pretend that Harry sends her and wants the producer to read a screenplay. Yet, when the time comes and she is before the man, she can’t do it, and she ends up telling the truth. Even so, the man feels curious and promises to read the screenplay and give her his opinion. I wonder what will happen. I really hope that Lou manages to succeed and wins over her selfish step-siblings.

Apart from this, she discovers something about her grandfather. In one of the vases her mother has inherited from Constance, she finds a letter when Poppy accidentally breaks the vase. The letter is from someone called Marion Marchand and is dated in 1985. Apparently, the woman has read John Barrington’s books, and she believes she can identify her sister in his descriptions. Lou is astonished, but she remembers her father saying that Constance used to get rid of her husband’s letters. Lou decides to go to Paris to find out if the woman is alive and is related to her. Her father goes with him, and they finally meet the woman, who is old and sick. The woman is moved when she sees Lou and Matt. Seemingly, Lou is the spitting image of Marion’s sister, that is, her great-grandmother, Louise. Then Marion tells them why Louise was estranged from her father and sister. According to Marion, the two sisters were very close, and then their father hired a tutor to teach them English. Marion was head over heels in love with William, but kept telling her sister. Then one day their father found Louise and William in bed together, and he kicked them out of the house. Marion reproached her sister what she had done, and Louise said that she couldn’t help herself because she also loved him. It was later that they got married, had John, and then William was killed and she and the boy sent to the camp. It was there that she also had baby girl, who died shortly after she was born, and then she died leaving John alone.

Lou returns to see Marion a second time. She travels to Paris with Harry, who she likes more and more, but she is not certain what he feels as his attitude is quite lukewarm. When she goes to see Marion, the woman is under the weather. Once again Marion is moved to see her, and she gives Lou the photograph of her great-grandmother and a letter she asks her to open after her death. Then she asks her to read the part in the book about her sister’s death, and we learn that in the book the mother dies because her best friend lets her die after she asks her to find a doctor. The boy in the novel knows that her mother’s friend can’t have children and after his sister’s death, which she mourned terribly, he knows she wants him, and that is the reason why she wanted her friend dead. According to Marion, the book tells what really happened. Lou doesn’t want to believe it because this means that the woman who raised her grandfather was responsible for his real mother’s death.

In Paris after her visit with Marion, she goes to meet Harry. Her uncertainties vanish when Harry finally kiss. I just hope that after what Lou went through with Ray, Harry doesn’t disappoint her.

As for the other characters, Nessa discovers that her husband is having an affair with someone called Melanie, and shortly afterwards Gareth asks her for a divorce. Nessa gets upset, but it is her pride that is wounded, but it is clear that she isn’t in love with her. Then we see that her relationship with Mickey, her partner in the flower shop, is getting closer and closer. Mickey is a Lesbian, and one day as they travel to find some suppliers, they decide to spend the night in a hotel. In the middle of the night they share some wine, and Mickey make a pass at her, and Nessa welcomes it. Later she tells her that she hasn’t felt so strongly before, and she doesn’t regret it. From then on, they start a relationship, but the only flaw is that Nessa doesn’t want anybody to know about them, and Mickey accuses her of feeling ashamed of her. Nessa claims that what she is afraid of is that Gareth could use that knowledge to demand custody of their daughter. Nessa admits that Mickey is right to be upset; she knows she is in love with her, and she even hopes to marry her. I think this change in Nessa is nice. So far we have seen a very cold, selfish woman, but with Mickey she has shown that she also has feelings.

Justin has kept the sale of the house a secret, and when Matt learns about it, he is furious, but even though he goes to talk to Justin, there is nothing he can do. Later we learn that he plans to invest the money from the sale in the spa they are going to build on the property. I have a bad feeling about this, and his greed might  result in his ruin.

As for Matt, I think he is acting so foolishly and selfishly. Ellie, who cheated on him and dumped him, seems to be in his thoughts all the time. He uses the first excuse to contact her and go to see her. He even lies to Phyl, who has been a faithful and good wife to him. Then when he meets Ellie in her flat, she taunts him and they kiss, but Matt finally realises that he can’t do that. Ellie confidently tells him that he will return to get what he longs for, and I have the hunch that Ellie might be right. I just feel so sorry for Phyl, who apart from Lou nobody seems to appreciate. She raised two children who weren’t even her husband’s, but she never complained, but now Nessa and Justin don’t have very nice thoughts about her or have a grateful word for her.

I am really enjoying the book and the relationships of these characters. I can’t wait to see what happens.


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