All My Sisters 7 (Pages 262 – 389)



Oh Marianne! I think she has made a terrible mistake. Lucas Melrose ran into her in London, and from that moment onwards he kept visiting. Then one day he asks her to marry her, and even though she turns him down at first, Marianne finally accepts his proposal. Her sisters, Iris and Eva, try to change her mind, reasoning that she doesn’t know the man at all, and she would have to be living thousands of miles from her family. Marianne has made her mind; nothing satisfies her any longer, and she feels she is living in death, and time won’t change her. So she thinks that maybe marrying this man who she thinks is good will give her someone to love, that  is, a baby. So she marries Lucas and they travel to Ceylon. Shortly after arriving, Marianne realises that she is pregnant, and she feels close to getting some kind of happiness. After announcing her pregnancy, Lucas moves to another room and leaves her alone. Marianne doesn’t love him, so it is a relief. Then some weeks later she hears a woman laughing at night, and when she goes to check, she can’t see anyone. That happens several days in a row, and when she tells her new friend, Clare Barlow, her suspicions that a woman is visiting some of the servants at night, the woman tells her that she might not be there for a servant, but for Lucas. Clare explains that it is not strange for plantation owners to have mistresses, and as a matter of fact, her own husband has a couple of local mistresses. I wonder if Marianne will let the matter drop or approach her husband with what she knows. She might not love him, but I think she is a proud woman, and this might show her that Lucas doesn’t love her as he claimed. Maybe Iris was right and he married him for her money? I wonder what will happen now.

Eva confronts Gabriel about Nerissa, and he doesn’t deny her accusations. At first, Eva doesn’t want anything more from him, but she misses him too much and returns to him. Yet, things are not the same. Gabriel seems to have lost interest, and when she spies him talking with another woman and clearly flirting, she fears that his attention is now on someone else. Then Sadie asks Eva to visit her, and in a veiled way the woman tells her that she is aware that Gabriel has affairs with her muses. At first, she minded, but then she realised that she couldn’t do anything, and she admits to liking some of Gabriel’s muses, so that is why she worries that they might be hurt. So in this way Sadie is telling her that Eva should get out of that relationship before she is hurt more. So the next thing she does is to go and break off things with Gabriel. In his studio she can see an unfinished portrait of the girl that she saw him flirt with, so it is clear that he has found another woman.

Iris has now finished her training, but has decided to stay in the hospital. It is there where she sees Ash for the first time after two years. Ash is astonished to see her there, and Iris, still sore at the memory of his rejection, treats him with coldness. Yet, Ash is persistent, and they start hanging out together and are friends again. Iris makes her know that she is not interested in marriage, and she is happy that she didn’t marry any of the men who proposed to her or when she hinted that they should marry. Despite her words, after spending all this time together, Iris realises that she has fallen in love with him. The problem is that there is a woman who is also interested in Ash. Her name is Thelma, and he met her in a political meeting. Thelma is an activist in the suffragette movement, but she can’t do more because she needs to look after her sick father and the shop, which is their only income. I think Ash is keen on Iris, but maybe both their prides might stand in their way.  Ash might think that Iris can’t have feelings for him, and Iris won’t tell him after the humiliation the last time.

Clemency doesn’t shy away from her feelings for Ivor, and he hasn’t hidden his interest either. They don’t become lovers, but they hold hands and from time to time Ivor kisses him. Clemency keeps dreaming of a life with Ivor, but the problem is his wife. She starts loathing the woman even though she doesn’t know her, and she deeps imagining Rosalie dying. Then guilt grips her and feels ashamed of herself. Then one evening when she attends one of Ivor’s concerts, she notices a tall, dark woman next to him, and when she realises that it is his woman, Clemency is shocked, and she realises that she has been wrong in judging her so wrong. I wonder if this will change something in Clemency. I don’t like Ivor at all; he sounds so pathetically needy and conceited. I don’t want Clemency to end up with someone like him, but I hope that she finds some happiness as well. I feel so sorry for her; destiny hasn’t been kind to her, and looking after her mother is not life at all. Clemency is young and full of life, and she should have the opportunities that her sisters have.


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