In the next part of the book none of the five friends are very happy. Now Julia and Marius are married.
Things between Julia and Will are strained. First, they have to live with his parents in the Schoolhouse, which thwarts their attempts to be intimate. Then Will finds a cottage for them to live, a hideous place that Julia hates but tries to turn it into a home. It is isolated and hard work. Will then starts having financial problems with the garage because of the petrol rationing, but he keeps this secret from Julia. His problems push him to drink, and he tries to borrow money from his father and his cousin Maurice. What Maurice suggests is a man that can help him. Rick Hunter turns out to be a crook who tells him that he needs an incentive to make the business flourish. So he suggests handing out counterfeit petrol coupons, and the profit will go for the both of them. Will knows this is illegal, and he tries to find the money somewhere, but in the end he calls Rick. That makes him irritable and drink more, and when Julia suggests she should help him with the books, he goes berserk. Julia is very unhappy and then when she is working at the local stables, she runs into Jack, and for the first time they have a civil conversation. Jack then tells himself that they can be friends, but I think that is quite dangerous for both of them.
Jack’s life isn’t happy either. Work on the farm is easy, and his cousin is a difficult woman to satisfy. Jack is sorry that he spoilt things with Julia, and he confesses to Julia when they meet at the stables that he actually regretted what happened that day and ran after her. Yet, she was already engaged to marry William.
Marius’s marriage is not easy either. First, he has problems with his daughter and Suzanne. The girl cries whenever he comes closer, but that changes when he realises that he just needs to understand what Tara needs. Things with Suzanne are more difficult. She looks unhappy. Then months later she finally confesses that Tara is not his, but when he went to her, she thought that he would offer her money. Then when Marius suggested marriage, Suzanne thought that this was her way to give her child a home. Suzanne feels she needs to confess because Marius is a good man. She tells her that she fell in love with a married pilot who was killed shortly after she met Marius. Tara is the man’s, and Suzanne tells Marius that she never planned to lie to Marius, but when he was in her poky flat, she couldn’t refuse help for Tara.
Marius’s first reaction is to leave them. Yet, when he talks to Topaz, she says that when one loves someone, you need to hold on to it. He loves Tara, and when he returns to the house, he tells Suzanne that he doesn’t want them to leave. Little by little their relationship improves, and he knows that he loves Suzanne even though he doesn’t hide the fact that she cares for him, but doesn’t love him.
As for Topaz, in London she is unable to keep a job for long. She meets a girl, Francesca, and they become friends. They usually go to a café, and there they meet a group of people who they befriend. Topaz is attracted to Charlie, who is an actor, but she is disappointed when he takes up with Francesca. Apart from Charlie, there is Mischa, who is a Polish refugee in love of Claudette, who is a dance. There is also Jerry, who is a flirt with all women. Helena is a theatre couturier and in love with Donald, who is married to Jean. Helena and Donald used to be a couple, but during the war he had a fling with Jean, and when she got pregnant, he had to marry her. Topaz feels happy with these friends, and she has lots of fun. At a party that she, Francesca and Charlie gatecrash, things become complicated. Francesca is upset because Charlie is going to be at a play in Durham and will be away for two months. Then an acquaintance tells Francesca’s mother about her and Charlie, so Francesca is packed off to a sister’s house. Then Charlie returns, and when Topaz sees him in the café, she suggests they go somewhere else. Charlie takes her dancing and later when he walks with her, they hear some music and Charlie draws her to him for a dance. Something in his eyes tells Topaz that there is something, so she boldly kisses him, and he takes the lead and keep kissing. Charlie then confesses that he has never made a move because he thought that she was too good for him. Topaz doesn’t know whether to believe him as he is an actor, but she tells herself to enjoy what she has while it lasts.
Topaz is my favourite character. I feel sorry for her because of the way her mother keeps putting her down, but I love her vitality, honesty and freshness. I hope she doesn’t lose these personal charm of hers.