Oh my!!! Lucas is a devil. How unlucky Marianne has been to find herself married to such a horrible man!!! The only thing that now ties her to him is George. She tries to escape once, but her attempt fails when one of the local women, who she thinks will take her to the station, betrays her and takes her back to Lucas. At that point she is ill with some fevers so she spends a couple of weeks in bed. When she is well, Lucas lets her know that now George will be under the care of Ama, a woman she has hired, and Marianne will not be allowed to be alone with him. Marianne is miserable; she realises that all her jewels are gone, so she has no money, but her loyal servant has kept her diamond engagement ring, which Arthur gave her. Marianne tries to write to her father, asking for help, but Lucas intercepts the letter and forces her to write letters telling her family that everything is well.
Marianne knows she has to leave this place and Lucas. The way he treats George means that he will grow up just like Lucas, and Marianne swears that she will not allow it. So she plans her escape. One of the men, Mr de Silva, has always been kind to her; he travels to the mainland, so she asks him to sell the ring, and Mr de Silva promises he will. Then she knows that she needs to do something so Ama will be distracted for two hours, which is what she needs to walk to the station. When she notices that one of the men, Mr Salter finds the woman attractive, Marianne skilfully hints that Ama is lonely and likes him. His suggestions soon pay dirt and she notices that some of the bracelets Ama is now wearing come from Mr Salter. I am really afraid for Marianne because Lucas is no fool and he already suspects something. I feel so outraged because she doesn’t deserve what she is going through. I hope she manages to save herself and her son.
And Iris and Ash!!! Iris leaves London and is hired as a private nurse. In London Ash feels lonely and then Thelma seduces him, and even though he doesn’t love her, he lets himself be carried away. Some days later Ash feels he needs to find Iris and tells her how he feels. So he finds her address through Eva, and when he calls on her, he confesses his love for her, and finally they become a couple. Yet, their happiness doesn’t last as horrible Thelma comes and tells him that she is pregnant. So Ash has to tell Iris because he needs to marry Thelma now. The wedding doesn’t take place as Thelma is finally honest and tells him that the baby is not his, but her previous boyfriend’s. The truth is that she wanted Ash so much that she thought this could be the way, but now she realises that he doesn’t love her, so she doesn’t want that. Oh what a horrible woman! Ruining Ash’s happiness with Iris and without regrets!!!
When the war breaks out, Ash joins up, and Iris, who is now working in a military hospital, agrees to see him when Eva begs her to do so. Their conversation is cold, and Iris feels that things are not the same and couldn’t be the same. She can’t forget that Ash slept with Thelma. Ash asks her then if he can write to her when he is sent to France, and she agrees.
The beginning of the war brings more changes for the Maclises. James joins up and talks to Eva, and tells her that he has a secret. So what he reveals is that he is married and has a little girl. Actually, he has been married for three years. Eva wants him to talk to their father, and when James refuses, she tells him that Joshua might understand, so she reveals her own secret: their father had a mistress. Next, James and Joshua have a terrible confrontation, which ends up with James leaving the house forever. Then Joshua takes ill; his heart is weak, so he has to leave the factory in the hands of Aidan, which Joshua doesn’t want as his younger son could be ruthless with the workers. Eva tries to mediate between Joshua and James, but they are too proud to take the first step. Eva has returned home because she knows she is needed there now that James is gone, and she s working in the factory with the help of Rob Foley, who she knows is in love with her. James finally leaves without speaking to his father, and Eva promises to keep an eye on his wife and daughter, especially as Emily, his wife, is expecting another child.
Another change that has brought to the family is that Lillian has left her bed and is active in the effort of war. She claims that she can lead a nursing training group better than anybody. Clemency has also joined the war effort, joining the Women’s Volunteer Reserve. Her story with Ivor is finished. His wife passed away, and then she decided to visit him at home. There she let him make love to her, but after that, she realised that she wasn’t important to him, but she acknowledged and learnt that she was important for her family. So she admitted that this had to happen to make her understand something. Maybe now that her mother is better and Clemency is working as a volunteer, she might enjoy a better life now.
I am reaching the end of the book, and I wonder what will happen with the characters. Will Ash and Jame return from war? Will Iris and Ash finally find a way to live their love? Will Marianne manage to leave her horrible husband?