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KxBurns
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PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

[ Edited ]
I think these chapters can be discussed together.

Marcus returns and indicates that he might eventually be able to put his grief behind him. Does this mean Grace accomplished what she out to with her tapes? Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter. Grace detects a spark between the two, and we also learn that Grace and Alfred eventually reunited.

So is this story ultimately a romance?...

I found the chapter "The End" to be beautifully written. What Grace wants at the end of her life is "mercy and forgiveness and peace" (p.450). Was releasing her secret the only way to achieve such peace? From whom does Grace need forgiveness?

Karen

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-14-2008 01:38 AM
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vivico1
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

I don't see how you can take a 500 page book and add in a couple of pages at the end, that two young people seem to have sparks for each other and that as a kind of, oh yes by the way, Grace and Alfred did finally get together and were happy in the end, and call it ultimately a romance story. This was 450 pages of depressing people and lives, with then a few short pages of and they all got together and were happy! No, doesnt work as a romance novel, but it will allow people to like the story more because of the nice ending after all that depression before. Kinda of a cheap tactic to me to please in the end.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

So is this story ultimately a romance?...

I found the chapter "The End" to be beautifully written.


I did not see the story as a romance but more as a mystery, and a successful one because it kept the various 'secrets' until the very end, even to putting the letter in shorthand on the last page. I felt that the various romances were secondary to the main plot and as I do not like romances, this suited me.

'The End' chapter was better written than many of the other chapters but overall I found the grammatical quirks irritating, even though I came to the conclusion that they were the author's way of portraying Grace's failing faculties.




KxBurns wrote:
I think these chapters can be discussed together.

Marcus returns and indicates that he might eventually be able to put his grief behind him. Does this mean Grace accomplished what she out to with her tapes? Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter. Grace detects a spark between the two, and we also learn that Grace and Alfred eventually reunited.

So is this story ultimately a romance?...

I found the chapter "The End" to be beautifully written. What Grace wants at the end of her life is "mercy and forgiveness and peace" (p.450). Was releasing her secret the only way to achieve such peace? From whom does Grace need forgiveness?

Karen

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-14-2008 01:38 AM


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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

Karen wrote: "Marcus returns and indicates that he might eventually be able to put his grief behind him. Does this mean Grace accomplished what she out to with her tapes? Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter. Grace detects a spark between the two, and we also learn that Grace and Alfred eventually reunited.

So is this story ultimately a romance?...

I found the chapter "The End" to be beautifully written. What Grace wants at the end of her life is "mercy and forgiveness and peace" (p.450). Was releasing her secret the only way to achieve such peace?

I think that Grace did accomplish what she set out to do. Once she related the story of Hannah and Robbie's unrequited love and ultimately his death, he may have been able to view his own life and realise that he had no control over Rebecca's death. He might have already been at a point where he accepted this, but Grace's tapes probably helped him to get over any guilt he might have felt; considering the guilt she had was much bigger than his own...supposition. I detected the spark between the two as well, which brought everything full circle. Ultimately Grace's life will be connected to Hannah's in a more profound way than that of servant and mistress if Marcus and Ursula get together. They will truly then be recognized as family. I was happy to see that Grace and Albert finally got together, unlike Robbie and Hannah.

I loved "The End" as well. It was beautifully written, and the symbolic number three came back into play. This time it is Grace, Hannah and Grace's mom. She finally felt the burden lift off her shoulders enabling her to move on... I think that releasing the secret definitely achieved the peace she wanted. The secret no longer bound her to the physical world and it being out there will do no harm to anyone since all the parties involved would be dead.
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

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paula_02912
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

Karen wrote: "So is this story ultimately a romance?..."

I think that yes, this story is ultimately a romance; albeit a tragic one. This is where it most resembled Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. In all these books, the principal characters wanted soemthing they could not have, which ultimately led to tragedy. I read it, as a book about ill-fated love as seen with Frederick and Grace's Mother, Grace and Albert, Hannah and Robbie, Emmeline and any guy that Hannah liked, Grace and John, Ursula and her son's father, Marcus and his wife, Rebecca.

Yes, there is a lot of mystery pervading the story, but love, not necessarily romantic love, is also a common theme throughout...ultimately it is her love for her sister that caused Hannah to kill the man she loved. It was also Grace's love for Hannah that caused her to hide her actions from Teddy.
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

I do think that Grace's tapes have helped Marcus cope and maybe he's coming back from the brink.
I was so happy that we find out that Grace and Alfred reunite in this chapter and I wonder if this is also a bone of contention between Ruth and Grace the fact that Grace didn't love Ruth's father like she did Alfred.
I noticed the spark also, but how exactly related are Marcus and Ursula?

In The End I wonder who Grace saw, ghosts perhaps or maybe just an angel. I think Grace needs forgiveness from herself, she did the best she knew how.
I think releasing her secret was a selfless act for Marcus because I still don't think she thought the world needed to know what really happened. I think if Marcus hadn't been suffering she would have taken the secret to the grave.
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Popper19
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End



dhaupt wrote:
I do think that Grace's tapes have helped Marcus cope and maybe he's coming back from the brink.
I was so happy that we find out that Grace and Alfred reunite in this chapter and I wonder if this is also a bone of contention between Ruth and Grace the fact that Grace didn't love Ruth's father like she did Alfred.
I noticed the spark also, but how exactly related are Marcus and Ursula?

In The End I wonder who Grace saw, ghosts perhaps or maybe just an angel. I think Grace needs forgiveness from herself, she did the best she knew how.
I think releasing her secret was a selfless act for Marcus because I still don't think she thought the world needed to know what really happened. I think if Marcus hadn't been suffering she would have taken the secret to the grave.




You mentioned you noticed the spark too. So did I and I assumed it was a romantic spark and at first I thought, oh, a budding romance, how nice and then I thought, no, no, no - they are cousins or second cousins. I am hoping for their sake they figure that out before they get too attached to one another.

You also mentioned in a different post that you had wanted to kick Grace. I had that feeling many times througout the book. First, when she was standing by the train to see Alfred off and she was paying way too much attention to David and his lot. When Alfred was proposing and many more times. I think Ms. Morton did a wonderful job on this book.
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?

Was this a love story? Of course it was, but alot more. It had mystery, suspense,saddness,death,murder,deception and lots more. It was a novel of life, should I say normal life. Its about life that any of us could live or could have lived in our life time. Its not anything that is not heard of. Affairs, secrets, deception, money, no money and demeaning job situations as Grace found herself in. So why did Grace's mom want her to go to Riverton and work? She had other career plans, what was the purpose. Was the Mom looking for her to find out the truth? And why did she want her to find out, she wouldnt tell Grace who her father was. There are unanswered questions of course, but that does not make it a bad book, it makes you use your imagination. I loved the book. It was about real life, it could happen to anyone. It is not an imaginary thing, its real. I think the secret at the end was brilliant on Kate's part to think up, the shorthand thing. But hey, it cold happen. Grace was trying so desparately to please Miss Hanah and not to divulge her secret about reading books. One secret, or one lie leads to destruction. How many times do we hear that, and still are guilty of not always telling the whole truth. This is a human story, all about the lies, depceptions, the secrets that all of us human beings have in our life, maybe not as dramatic as these, in this novel, but still all of this is possible to live. I will always recommend this book to everyone. My daughter is readin git now, and the other two are getting copies when it comes out. An awesome read!
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End



KxBurns wrote:
I think these chapters can be discussed together.

Marcus returns and indicates that he might eventually be able to put his grief behind him. Does this mean Grace accomplished what she out to with her tapes? Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter. Grace detects a spark between the two, and we also learn that Grace and Alfred eventually reunited.

So is this story ultimately a romance?...

I found the chapter "The End" to be beautifully written. What Grace wants at the end of her life is "mercy and forgiveness and peace" (p.450). Was releasing her secret the only way to achieve such peace? From whom does Grace need forgiveness?

Karen

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-14-2008 01:38 AM




I love the idea of Ursula and Marcus getting to gether for life. It has to be 3rd or 4th cousins. What the heck? After the 3rd, its not enought kin to worry with. They seem to be strong individuals and have alot going for them. I hope they do get together. Kate, this would be a good second book about Riverton. I was kind of melancholy at the point in the story when its revealed that Grace and Alfred had an affair for years and I so changed my mood. That was a wonderful thing to happen and the place it appeared in the book was so awesome. You thought of Grace, not really having a life, and then, bingo, there is it. I loved this book! I have said this , many times but its so very true!
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Tarri
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

Was this a love story and who's love story was it? It was a love story, but also a tragedy. Hannah loved Robbie, but so did Emmeline. Grace loved Alfred, but so did Miss Starling (I assume). Grace loved Ruth, but didn't know how to show love until she met her grandson. Hannah loved her father, but neither of them had the capacity to say they were wrong. Frederick loved Grace's mother, but didn't have the courage to go against the rules of convention. Grace loved Hannah, and it may have led to the downfall of them all.

I think Marcus was able to start to put his grief behind him because of time not tapes.
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End

I was very surprised to find out that Grace & Alfred ended up together. At first I felt a little cheated that we didn't learn more details about their relationship, but after I thought about it a little I was struck by the fact that Grace starts out as a a servant & ends up as someone her grandson can describe as "not a conventional woman". It really speaks to the changes & the modernization that run throughout the novel.

I don't think Grace needs forgiveness from any person, but rather from history, from her own guilt that nobody else knows about, from what she considers the truth.

My question is: Did she never tell Alfred about any of this?
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End



KxBurns wrote:
I think these chapters can be discussed together.

Marcus returns and indicates that he might eventually be able to put his grief behind him. Does this mean Grace accomplished what she out to with her tapes?

With 500 pages, you would think that Morton could have paid a bit more attention to Marcus's return. We don't really know how or why or what it all means to him. Other loose ends are pretty well tied up, but not this one, at least as far as I can see. Nor does he explain at all why the tapes would help him put behind him the grief of a dead wife. What's the relationship?
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End



KxBurns wrote:
Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter.

Assume that Grace is right (along with most of us early on in the book) that Frederick is Grace's father (we are never told that this is true; it's strongly implied, and Grace certainly believes it, but we never know for sure, do we? Unless I missed something in the text, the only two people who know for sure both apparently took their secrets to the grave). In this case, Grace and Hannah are half-sisters, Grace is Florence's Aunt, and Ursula is Grace's, what, great-great-niece?
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End


KxBurns wrote:
So is this story ultimately a romance?

Not for me.

Grace and Alfred may have gotten together in the end, but Grace carried enough secrets (and perhaps guilt) with her that were obviously uncomfortable that I don't see her as a romantic heroine.

However, one thing I do note of interest: virtually all, if not all, of the downstairs contingent live contented, if not even happy, lives. Oh, they have their ups and downs, but from what we can see, Alfred, Mrs. Townsend, Mr. Hamilton, even Nancy, and Mrs. S whose name I forget (Alfred's wife) all seem to live basically contented lives. Grace's mother is an exception, but she's out of the downstairs picture long before the story begins.

Virtually all, if not all, of the Upstairs contingent wind up unhappy. Hannah and Emmeline are dead, neither having a happy life at the end. David and Jonathan die in war. Lord Ashbury dies with the tragedy of his heir's death. Teddy may be emotionally untouched by his wife's infidelity and death, but his life can hardly be considered happy.

And Grace? She is sort of a bridge between upstairs and downstairs. Formally, of course, she is always downstairs, but in her interactions with Hannah, she seems much more aligned with upstairs. And of course if we're right, she's half downstairs, half upstairs by birth.

I wonder what the message is here as to what brings, and what destroys, happiness? Is this a theme of the book that Karen hasn't set up a thread for, the difference between upstairs and downstairs, their opportunities, aspirations, and eventual basis for happiness, contentment, or the lack of either?
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Everyman
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?


kiakar wrote:
It was a novel of life, should I say normal life.

I sure hope not! Iif this is normal life, I hope to live a wildly abnormal life!
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?



Everyman wrote:

kiakar wrote:
It was a novel of life, should I say normal life.

I sure hope not! Iif this is normal life, I hope to live a wildly abnormal life!




Ditto..very morose life for all of the upstairs characters. At the beginning of Part III, I was honestly wondering if there was any light at the end of the tunnel other than an oncoming train.

I still enjoyed the story but honestly I did not admire any of the Hartford family and Grace wasn't all that admirable when she was with them. I think her story, life and growth started after she left service.

Bentley
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bookhunter
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End



Everyman wrote:


KxBurns wrote:
Ursula confirms that she is Florence's grand-daughter.

Assume that Grace is right (along with most of us early on in the book) that Frederick is Grace's father (we are never told that this is true; it's strongly implied, and Grace certainly believes it, but we never know for sure, do we? Unless I missed something in the text, the only two people who know for sure both apparently took their secrets to the grave). In this case, Grace and Hannah are half-sisters, Grace is Florence's Aunt, and Ursula is Grace's, what, great-great-niece?




Frederick is Ursula's great-great grandfather (Fredrick, Hannah, Florence, Mother, Ursula)

Frederick is Marcus's great grandfather (Frederick, Mother, Grace, Ruth, Marcus)

Marcus and Ursula are second cousins, once removed. I think. Marcus and Ursula's mother would have been second cousins (same great-grandfather) Ursula is the next generation, so "once removed."

Close enuf for romance here in Georgia. LOL

Ann, bookhunter
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BookWoman718
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?

I think when we're assessing whether or not someone had a morose life, we have to keep in mind who's telling us about it, and why they are telling it.

In this case, most of the central characters die very young, in tragic circumstances. The narrator is a servant who comes into their young lives when they are more than half over, and up to that point they've had a doting father, generous grandparents, the happy companionship of one another, freedom from want, etc. It sounds like they were having a lot of fun, despite their adolescent yearnings. Poor Frederick we have to see as a tragic figure, but principally because he chose to hew the family line in both choice of career and choice of spouse. As a literary device, moreover, he needed to be tragic to enoble Grace's mother's predicament. It was 'true love' (grabs the reader's heart) rather than a lusty tumble (reader distaste). Most of the older generation were too self-satisfied for the reader's comfort, but although they suffered losses - in the war, particularly - it is hard to imagine that their lives overall were not more comfortable, joyful, and satisfying than, say, the pedlar's. Or Grace's for that matter. And Teddy, well, he was happy with his change of career choice, took pride in his possible political future and his lovely, well-born wife, and given his family fortune, most likely would go on to marry again and raise a politically advantageous family. Emmaline lived a wild life, and we, like her contemporaries, might tut-tut, but she probably had a lot of fun doing it, and if not suffering an early demise, might have rehabilitated herself, or gone on to a career in respectable film; haven't we seen that happen often enought to 'wild child' stars? So I'm not shedding tears for the poor "Upstairs" folk. Illness, infidelity, betrayal, business reverses, divorce, death - these are indeed part of everyone's life, then as now. It just happened a little messier with these folk.

The book might have been more interesting in characterization if anyone in it had successfully stepped outside the expected path, (even David's enlistment which enraged his father, was part of the swell of patriotism that engaged everyone in that time). Emmaline strayed, but did so recklessly, to her and her family's detriment. Alfred appears to have done it, but effectively drops out of the story when he does, except for the brief reappearance at the book's end. But maybe that's the writer's intention: to show us how hopelessly entangled we inevitably are and how unlikely we are to be able to escape our destiny.
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?


BookWoman718 wrote:
I think when we're assessing whether or not someone had a morose life, we have to keep in mind who's telling us about it, and why they are telling it.

In this case, most of the central characters die very young, in tragic circumstances. The narrator is a servant who comes into their young lives when they are more than half over, and up to that point they've had a doting father, generous grandparents, the happy companionship of one another, freedom from want, etc. It sounds like they were having a lot of fun, despite their adolescent yearnings. Poor Frederick we have to see as a tragic figure, but principally because he chose to hew the family line in both choice of career and choice of spouse. As a literary device, moreover, he needed to be tragic to enoble Grace's mother's predicament. It was 'true love' (grabs the reader's heart) rather than a lusty tumble (reader distaste). Most of the older generation were too self-satisfied for the reader's comfort, but although they suffered losses - in the war, particularly - it is hard to imagine that their lives overall were not more comfortable, joyful, and satisfying than, say, the pedlar's. Or Grace's for that matter. And Teddy, well, he was happy with his change of career choice, took pride in his possible political future and his lovely, well-born wife, and given his family fortune, most likely would go on to marry again and raise a politically advantageous family. Emmaline lived a wild life, and we, like her contemporaries, might tut-tut, but she probably had a lot of fun doing it, and if not suffering an early demise, might have rehabilitated herself, or gone on to a career in respectable film; haven't we seen that happen often enought to 'wild child' stars? So I'm not shedding tears for the poor "Upstairs" folk. Illness, infidelity, betrayal, business reverses, divorce, death - these are indeed part of everyone's life, then as now. It just happened a little messier with these folk.

The book might have been more interesting in characterization if anyone in it had successfully stepped outside the expected path, (even David's enlistment which enraged his father, was part of the swell of patriotism that engaged everyone in that time). Emmaline strayed, but did so recklessly, to her and her family's detriment. Alfred appears to have done it, but effectively drops out of the story when he does, except for the brief reappearance at the book's end. But maybe that's the writer's intention: to show us how hopelessly entangled we inevitably are and how unlikely we are to be able to escape our destiny.




That's a morose thought as well; if you are saying that we are unlikely to be able to escape our destiny as if our life scripts are all written for us. I guess I do not believe that everything is preordained for us; I feel that we have free will just as these characters surely had. Emmeline was more real for me than any of the Hartfords; she did not hide behind a false screen of respectability; she was who she was...like her or not and she oddly enough had plenty of friends. The Hartfords did have a life of privilege and before the war were having a pretty good life. The war did change things for everyone in England and everybody was hit hard no matter what your class standing. I am not shedding tears for any of them; I think their destiny was determined by their actions and deceptions not from fate or predestiny. To me some of the downstairs staff had pretty good lives and were happy with their lots and felt blessed for everything they had. In a way they were looked after and didn't yearn for things not in their realm.
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BookWoman718
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Re: PART FOUR: Slipping Out of Time and The End A love story?

Sorry, I wasn't indicating my own thoughts on the inevitability of people's lives, only speculating if that could have been the author's take on it, and/or the reason she wrote it as she did. That's why I think I would have enjoyed seeing a prominent character or two who stepped outside of what was expected by family and station in life, and who lived to enjoy success doing it. My own feeling is that strong people can often do that, and that opportunities for acting on one's own wishes probably abounded after the so-called Great War, when the world was changing so rapidly. But such a character might have lessened the feeling of inevitability about the whole plot.

Or maybe I should also differentiate between 'the author's' voice and 'Grace's' voice, since most of this is told in the first person. Maybe it's Grace's viewpoint that's the key; all these characters, upstairs or down, and the bad ends they come to when they don't meet expectations (or know their place) Her guilt in the end may not be just over the seemingly little white lie of letting Hannah believe they have something in common, but in the way she was in thrall to them all, didn't objectively look after her own best interests, went along with things she believed were wrong, and didn't question that whole idea of knowing her place while at the same time reveling in the idea of her specialness to her employer.
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