Middlemere 10 – The End (Chapters 16 – end)

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RATING: SUPERB

SPOILERS!!!

I really loved the end of the book as Romy and Caleb end happy and together. Yet, to reach this point they had to go through a lot.

After her return from spending the New Year with Patrick and his mother, things cool down between him and Romy. Then Danny gets chickenpox, and Romy has a terrible week, worrying about her nephew and managing the hotel. That Friday she realises that she has missed Caleb, and on an impulse she decides to go and see him. When she gets there, she sees him with Alison, his neighbour, and Romy thinks that Caleb has a girlfriend and leaves in a huff. That day Patrick calls and to her surprise he asks her to marry. I was afraid that she would accept after her disappointed on seeing Caleb with another woman, but she simply tells him to let her think about it.

From then on Romy is cold and stiff with Caleb, and she even says that Patrick has asked her to marry him and is considering to accept. We know that she is trying to get back at him in her own way. Caleb doesn’t help things when he riles her, expressing her opinion, and later he realises that he might have pushed her to accept Patrick’s proposal. Then Bunny, Patrick’s mother, visits her, telling her all the reasons why she would not be the right wife for her son. One of the reasons is Danny and the other is her job. Romy is stubborn, and she tells the woman that whether she marries Patrick or not, it is only her business and not hers. Then when she and Patrick meet, they talk about Bunny’s visit and what she told her. Patrick admits that he is troubled by Danny’s presence, and he expects that Romy will leave her job when they get married. So in the end he turns him down, which was a relief.

Around this time Betty, Caleb’s mother, is admitted to hospital as her last boyfriend beat her up. Caleb goes to see her, and as they talk, he realises that he has been unfair to her all this time. He silently admits that his mother has always been a good mother despite her propensity to go with the wrong kind of men, and she has worked hard for giving him everything. He also realises that he also treated Romy wrong when he left her all these years ago. So after leaving the hospital, he goes straight to see her and is honest with her for once. Romy, who is a bit tipsy, also tells him that she saw him with a woman, and Caleb explains that was Alison, his neighbour, but they are only friends.

Shortly afterwards they finally make up, and Romy feels happier than ever. Yet, things get complicated when Johnny Fitzgerald turns up, wanting revenge for losing the hotel that he thinks is rightfully his to Romy. Johnny threatens in a loud voice in her full restaurant that he is going to tell people that Romy deceived and bullied Mrs Plummer into leaving her the hotel and prevent him from being with the woman he loved in her last days. Soon Romy has the first effects of Johnny’s sharp tongue, and the hotel gets fewer clients and people who Romy thought were friends won’t talk to her. Things are difficult financially, and on top of that, the workers discovers dry rot on the walls, windows and doors.

Romy is desperate, so she decides to reason with Johnny and reach an agreement. Yet, Johnny is not interested in having a share of the hotel or anything. What he wants is her body, and once again he has more munition. Apparently, he hired a detective, and he threatens to tell people about her past, but even worse, he says that he will tell Jem’s boss about his past in the jail, and the only way he will keep quiet is if she agrees to sleep with him.

Romy feels hemmed in, and as she considers accepting his proposition, Caleb asks her to marry him. Romy can’t bring herself to accept because there is this dark thing with Johnny going on, so it will be dishonest. Romy even sits outside his club, but in the end she can’t bring herself to do it. Thankfully, she finally backed out because in Yorkshire, Jem has become a hero. While he was strolling, he saw a child fall into the river, and without thinking twice about it, he jumped after him to save him. Then his dog, Sandy, which had gone after Jem, was in the water and once again Jem jumped into the river to get him. The dog, though, didn’t make it, but the boy was safe and sound and his parents were ever so grateful. He even told his boss about his past, even his stint in prison, and he was surprised as the man didn’t care.

Caleb then gets a call from Evelyn, telling him that Osborne is dying and wants to talk to him. So despite his reservations, he decides to see him. Evelyn receives him, and in the conversation that ensues we learn that Evelyn left Osborne after she discovered his betrayal. She went to live with her mother, and then she opened a house for single mothers, and she feels happy to be helping women in those difficult times. Evelyn also has a special friend, but she is now an independent woman who is fulfilled and satisfied. When Caleb sees Osborne, he realises that he doesn’t have much time to live, but Osborne tells him that he is sorry about Middlemere and what happened to the Coles. Caleb just tells him that he is going to marry the Coles’ young daughter.

In the last part of the novel Romy discovers that she is pregnant, which is a surprise, and she discovers that she is tired and wants to sell the hotel. The first person she tells about the baby is her mother, and when she mentions she now dreams of babies, Martha explains that the little girl of her dreams is Maisie, her younger sister, who died just before they left Middlemere. Apparently, Maisie was a sickly child, but Samuel blamed Debauny because of his refusal to change the water supply, and he confronted the man in church in front of everybody. That seems to have the trigger that pushed Debauny to evict Samuel. Martha explains that Romy was very taken by her little sister, but after what happened to Samuel, she forgot about Maisie.

The last pages of the book is Romy phoning Caleb. She finally tells him about the baby and her intention to sell the hotel, and Caleb also has plans for them to travel the world. So everything is okay in the end. I really loved it!!!

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