The Daughter 2 (Pages 33 – 135)

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SPOILERS!!!

I have to say that I find Jessica quite simple and weak in her attitude. After Beth’s accident, she goes to hospital, and Simon is there when she is told that her husband is dead. Even in the middle of mayhem he thinks it is suitable to tell her that he has told Louise about their affair years ago and about Beth being his daughter, but she has promised to keep the information. Naturally, Jess goes berserk because right then she doesn’t care about anything else.

A month or so later Jess is trying to come to terms with the fact that her daughter is gone. Then Louisa, Simon’s wife, appears, and she tells her that when she learnt about the affair, she wanted to kill her. Now she threatens to tell Ben the truth, and to avoid that, what Jess should do is arrange to meet Simon and tell him that he wasn’t Beth’s dad and she never loved him. Then Jess should leave town, and when she says that Ben has his business here, Louise then says that she will have to leave him as well. The woman threatens her with a knife. When she leaves, Jess thinks she has no other option, but to obey him. The last thing she wants is to hurt Ben, but it is quite ironical because by leaving him she is doing just that. I think that her attitude to submitting to this woman’s crazy wishes shows she is a bit of a pushover. I know that she is still vulnerable after losing Beth, but I don’t know… I find her pathetic. Then she admits that she isn’t in love with Ben the way she was with Simon years ago. So she decides to leave Ben, move away from the city without telling him.

The novel then moves forward in time. Seventeen years later we find Jessica has moved on. She and her second husband Ed have a two-year-old son, James, and they are happy. Ed knows everything about what happened with Beth, Ben, Simon, and Louisa. At that moment Jessica and Ed are moving house; they have sold theirs and are about to move into their new place. Yet, the people who sold them the house leave them in the lurch as they have accepted a higher offer. So they need to find a new house soon. So that weekend they start house hunting. Nothing they have seen so far convinces them, and they decide to see the last one. Jessica goes ahead with the estate agent while Ed is changing James’s nappy. As soon as Jessica steps into the house, she thinks there is something she doesn’t like. When she is about to say she is not interested, a dishevelled woman appears; it is Louisa and she starts saying that she now understands why Simon wants to divorce her now because he plans to go off with Jessica. Louisa attacks her physically, and the estate agent manages to pull her apart. Then Ed appears, and Louisa thinks that he is Ben. Louisa is under the impression that Jessica wants to buy this house, which is hers, to be with Simon. In the end, Ed and Jessica leave as soon as they can.

In the car Jessica and Ed discuss the matter, and when she tells her that Louisa mentioned that she and Simon had lived in the same town as Jessica for nine years, Ed can’t help but voice his doubts. Actually, Jess moved to Tunbridge Wells nine years ago just as long as Simon and Louisa had been living there. Jess swears that she never knew they were in the town, and she moved here for her job, and as a matter of fact, she never saw either of them.

Later that night while Ed goes to the shop for some wine, someone rings the bell, and it is Simon. He explains that he got the address from the estate agent, and he wants to apologise for Louisa’s behaviour. Jess is not very comfortable with him at his front door, and for some reason she doesn’t tell him that she is married to someone else, but lets him think that it is Ben she is still married. Jess, though, confesses that all these years ago what she told him in the pub was because Louisa threatened her, and that pleases Simon. When Simon goes and Ed returns, she tells him about the visit, and Ed is furious when he learns that the estate agent gave him their address. He is worried that Simon might have led Louisa here, and put Jess at risk.

On Monday Ed goes to work and Jess promises that she will call the estate agency to complain. As soon as she makes the call, the man on the other end of the line won’t let her talk, apologising for what happened on Saturday. Then at some point he mentions Louisa and says ‘God bless her soul’, and then he explains that the woman died the night before. Hmm.. what does this mean? Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? Or did she die of natural causes?

I also wonder if Beth’s death all these years ago was an accident. It seems quite a coincidence that the little girl died just when Louisa learnt that she was Simon’s daughter. What if the woman pushed the little girl, but somehow no one saw her? It is obvious that she was mentally disturbed back then.

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