Footprints on the Sand 8 (Chapters 13 – 15)

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SPOILERS!!!

There is a new blow for the Mulgraves, especially Faith. After she and Guy part ways, she is upset and full of anger. It doesn’t help when Jake gets into trouble with the police and she has to bail him out. After his story with Mary and misadventure in the boarding school, Jake is unable to find his direction, and he gets into scuffles and spends his money on booze. When Faith has to get him out of jail, she is furious because she feels that her family only want her because she is always there to pick up the pieces. For the first time Faith loses her rag and tells Jake that all she wants is to be left alone. Jake leaves, and feeling lost and lonely, he only finds a way out. So he travels to Cornwall and there he gets into the sea and commits suicide. Poor Jake. I think that he didn’t have much luck in life, but much of what happened to him could have been different if he had tried harder. Yet, it is true that the way he was raised played a big part in how he lived his live afterwards.

Once again the novel leaps a few years. It is 1959, and this part is focused on Oliver, who is now nineteen and studying medicine. Guy and Eleanor are still together, and to be honest, I can’t understand why Guy stays with a woman who he has nothing in common with except Oliver. It is true that Guy never considered divorce because he wouldn’t leave Oliver. Yet, now Oliver is an adult, so why does he put up with Eleanor, who he doesn’t love? Is it because he lost Faith and has no hope of winning her back?

After the first time Oliver talked to Faith, he has visited her in her shop several times over the years. When this time he returns from Edinburgh, he drops by the shop and Lizzie, Nicole’s daughter, is there. Oliver doesn’t think much of her as he considers her plain. Yet, life pushes them together, and they run into each other. Lizzie tells him that he could join a gathering about the march against nuclear armament, and even though he has no intention to go, he eventually finds himself there. That evening ends up with Lizzie driving him to her estate house, which impresses Oliver greatly, and he helps her make banners for the march. Yet, he makes it clear that he believes that nothing that they can do will make much of a difference. Then he runs into her in Trafalgar Square after the crowds have marched in protest. Lizzie looks terrible and confesses that her feet are bleeding and she feels awful. Oliver takes her to her father’s surgery. At some point Lizzie gets him to confess that he hates medicine, and when she suggests he should tell his parents, he gets angry and calls him naive and ignorant. Oliver’s short temper here stems from the fact that he overheard his mother talking on the phone, and from what he overheard, he thinks that Eleanor is having an affair. So with Lizzie he loses his temper and is unnecessarily rude and cruel. Lizzie starts sobbing and when Oliver comforts her, he realises that despite his initial reservations, he is attracted to her, and then she tells him that she loves him.

Then a few weeks later Guy turns up in his house when he should be taking his exams. Then he tells his parents that he has dropped out of university because he doesn’t want to study medicine. His mother is disapproving and tries to disregard his words. Yet, what shocks Eleanor is when he tells him that he is going to marry Elizabeth because she is pregnant. That is not the worst because when Eleanor realises that Lizzie is Nicole’s daughter, she loses it and starts vilifying the Mulgraves. Oliver even witnesses his father slap his mother when she seems to be hysterical. Later Guy, who is not very happy with his son’s news, tells him that when he was very young, he had an affair with Nicole, Lizzie’s mother, and that is why Eleanor is so disapproving. Guy also learns that Oliver has become somehow friends with Faith, and he can’t help but ask his son about her. I really can’t understand why Guy and Eleanor are still together when their son is all grown up. Is reputation such a valuable commodity for the two of them? Apparently, Eleanor is having an affair, but I can understand that she is the kind of woman who appearances are everything for. But what about Guy? Why does he have to put up with this life he doesn’t want?

Now that Lizzie and Oliver are going to get married, I wonder how things will pan out. We know that the girl loves Oliver, but I don’t think he feels the same. He is just doing the right thing by her, and he also tells his parents that Lizzie is an heiress and they will have a big house where to live and money. So strangely enough, Oliver is doing much the same as Nicole did seventeen years ago. Apart from the baby, he is marrying Lizzie for the house. I hope everything will go well for the pair, but we can see that their reasons for marriage are not the right ones, so this sounds as if history is going to repeat itself, and we are going to have another unhappy couple.

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