RATING: VERY GOOD
Oliver’s decision to marry Elizabeth is the cataclysm that changes everything in the Neville’s household. Eleanor claims that she has lost her son to Nicole’s daughter, so she has no reason to stay in her marriage. So she tells Guy that she and someone called Freddie have been having an affair for years. So she wants a divorce as they want to marry.
At Elizabeth and Oliver’s wedding Guy and Faith meet after years of separation. Yet, their encounter is a disappointment for her as Guy has decided to change his life. So he is going to live in Africa for two years, offering his work as a doctor.
Faith also changes her life soon. After travelling with her father all over Europe, she realises that this is what she wants to do it. For a while she has been receiving threatening calls, urging her to sell the shop, and she even gets a parcel with a dead rat. At the end of the book we don’t learn who the person threatening her is, but she eventually decides to sell the shop. Her dream to own the derelict house that reminds her of La Rouilly, the house where she was so happy as a child. Her plan is to live there with her father, but that doesn’t happen as Ralph dies of a heart attack.
In Africa Guy receives a telegram informing him that Elizabeth has had a baby girl, Christobel, so he is now a grandfather. In Tanganykia he has made friends with a woma who tells him about one-eyed Jack and from his descriptions about the man – he is well-travelled, was in the international brigades and the French resistance – Guy has a sudden enlightment. When they last met, she told him that Ralph never thought that Jake was dead and his body was never found. So when he finally gets to see the man, it is Jake. Jake tells him that he intended to kill himself, but somehow he kept resurfacing, and then he ended up somewhere on the coast. He pinched some clothes from a clothes line and got hired on a ship, and after a series of adventures he ended up in Africa and with one eye less. Guy tells him that he needs to tell Faith, and if he gave him a letter, he would post it for her when he gets to London, but Jake wants him to tell Faith face to face.
When Guy gets to London, he finds that the shop is gone. So he decides to ask Ralph, but there is nowhere in the cottage, and then in a sudden brainwave he visits the cemetery and cries when he sees the grave of Poppy and Ralph. Then when he starts thinking, he realises where Faith is. So he goes to the house, and there she is and we understand that they can finally be together.
I really loved the book and the characters. I have to say, though, that when Poppy died, something was missing from the book. Poppy was one of my favourite characters, so I really missed her in the novel.