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Iulievich
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:

Iulievich, are you suggesting that Grace's irrational attachment to Hannah is partially tied to a desire for more than just any family, but to belong to the Hartford's milleu of wealth and privilege?

That's an intrigiung idea I hadn't considered yet. So, in effect, marrying Alfred and leaving the service would be a step down the ladder rather than up?




Karen, thank you.

I am having a terrible problem getting the characters in this book out of my head and moving on to something else! It is a rare thing for fiction to affect me this way, and I take it as a testimony to how incredibly well the author has done her work.

To answer your question, "Yes, I am suggesting exactly that."

There is no question that Grace is devoted to Hannah personally.

First, there is the matter of Grace's upbringing and her mother's understandable obsession with the consequences of "stepping out of place." Hannah is the mistress and Grace's "place" is in her service.

Then there is the matter of the blood relation, which Grace certainly believes. After a life of apparent emotional deprivation living alone with her mother and no siblings, believing herself to have been abandoned by a father she never knew, Grace suddenly has a "secret sister." Actually, she has two secret sisters and a secret father, but one sister in particular seems willing to have an unusual, personal connection to Grace. I think that, just maybe, Grace's belief in that relationship has opened a whole new range of emotional possibilities to her that she has never before considered.

Finally, I think we have to give Grace credit for a little vision about the whole situation with regard to her own interests. Granted, the hope must be slim at best, but does this situation not open up to our little domestic servant, raised in near-poverty and prepared for a life of subservience, a small crack in the wall between herself and the bright, warm, privileged world of her aristocratic relations? Even if she does not dare hope for any sort of acknowledgment or consideration from her real father's family (and might not the idea of that eventually happening be forming in the back of her mind?), what effect would the realization of even illegitimate kinship have on Grace's view of her own self and her "quality" relative to others of her station as well as toward her newly discovered family?

She would not be the first illegitimate child of a privileged father to feel drawn into his world.

Could this be part of The Game as Grace begins to enter into it?

POSSIBLE SPOILER HERE!!

By the end of the book, is not Grace -- at least in her own mind -- the last of the Hartfords? Could that be a factor in concealing what she has figured out about someone else's lineage? What an unworthy act that would be! But who would not be capable of it, given the right existential motives? And how many layers of complexity has Kate Morton already given these people?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 06:18 PM
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an action but a habit." -Aristotle
Frequent Contributor
ezraSid
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

OMG! I was driven nuts watching Grace go back and forth thinking about her mother and Mr. Frederick and her listening to Alfred. I just knew he was going to propose and I was afraid Grace was going to miss it. Yes, we all knew she didn't marry him, but still, I so wanted her to accept. When she started laughing, I was shocked, I thought Alfred was going to be upset or embarrassed, or think she was laughing at him. I felt my heart jump when she said yes and then plummet when he mentioned her leaving Hannah. What a terrible decision that was for her. I so wish she had chosen the other path, but then, where would the story have unfolded? I really felt bad for her and for Alfred.

I am also sure that Mr. Hamilton and Mrs. Townsend know all about Grace's parentage. Afterall, they have been with the family forever is seems. I did wonder what the deal was with Mrs. Townsend... is she a widow? What ever happened to Mr. Townsend? Was Mr. Hamilton ever married? How does one have a "family" of their own when they are in "service"?
~Grace~
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ashleym919
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎10-10-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I also wondered why she had to make such an immediate decision, however, imagine for yourself making a discovery as big as the one she has just made about her father (no matter if it is correct). Her head would be swirling and thoughts would not be clear. Grace reacted immediately because she has always wanted family; repeatedly throughout the book she has wished to be part of something bigger than her small family.

Hannah has become the sister she has always wanted. Grace has felt a connection -- real or imagained -- to Hannah and the thought of losing that bond is worse than anything else. Grace had given up on the idea of marriage so saying no to Alfred, though she did care about him, was far less hurtful and terrifying than losing her position with Hannah which has become her identity.

I do not believe Hannah knows that they could be sisters. Hannah seems so utterly caught up in her own tragedy that she wouldn't have time to take hints from the servants or the town. I think Grace is Hannah's only friend and confident so she selfishly makes Grace promise never to leave.

I, personally, liked the character Hannah much more at the beginning of the book. Now she seems to spend all her time feeling sorry for herself. I miss her independent spirit that Teddy has successfully stifled.
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cocospals
Posts: 115
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

The Choice actually outlines several choices that have been made by the characters:

1. Katie chosing to "up and marry". Bumbling Katie...probably found a man to accept her as she was not as society or service wanted her to be.
2. Mrs.Townsand and Mr. Hamilton chose to keep a secret about Graces parentage.
3. Alfred choses to propose to Grace and Grace choses to accept
4. But then Grace choses to not leave Hannahs employment, choses her "secret sisters" bond over Alfred.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
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AllieK
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice



KxBurns wrote:
I love the way this chapter is written -- the back and forth between Grace's dawning consciousness of her mother's secret and Alfred's proposal. Both events took a long time but were worth it!

The choice of the chapter's title is between Alfred's proposal and offer of a different life, which Grace calls her "secret dream," and the "bond of dedication and devotion" she has with Hannah. I think what Grace has finally figured out about her mother and Frederick plays a huge part in the decision she makes.

Alfred fails to understand "the importance of maintaining the status quo" (p. 355) and would never let Grace keep the information to herself; never let her continue acting as a maid to her half-sister. That, I think, is the deciding factor. Do you agree or disagree? I wish we had some indication of what 98 year-old Grace thinks of this choice!

Finally, I think it's pretty clear that Mrs. Townsend and Mr. Hamilton know about Grace's lineage. But what about Hannah -- does she really know? Or is that wishful thinking on Grace's part, that the two share the ultimate secret, and the bond between them is as significant to Hannah as it is to Grace?

Karen





I loved this chapter too. First the 'gossip' among the downstairs staff when Grace visits Riverton after her mom's death. Next, the mix of delight when Grace is realizing who her father is at the same time Alfred is proposing to her! What a sad turn, when she has to decline it due to her feel of duty with Hannah. I just wanted to scream to her..NO NO!! hahah..

I wonder whether Hannah really knows the truth about Grace's lineage too. By the way she says things to Grace, you would think so, but you really don't know for sure.

Allison
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JoyZ
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I enjoyed this chapter and even Grace's being preoccupied while Alfred is ready to pop the question. It just shows that if she truly loved him she would have been able to share those thoughts and feelings with him. It really makes you think about the difference between then, keeping secrets and now, letting everyone else know everything.
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seattle07
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎09-20-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I also thought it was interesting that Katie and Alfred (who are both similiar to Grace in age) have challenged the status quo and moved on. I wonder if Grace goes on to get her doctorate as a way to prove to Alfred that she is capable of rising above the circumstances of her birth.
I really wanted Grace to marry Alfred and I also agree with other posters that a) she didn't have to decide right away and b) Alfred wouldn't have made Hannah go public with the fact that they are sisters. I do think that Frederick is her father but I haven't decided if Hannah knows. She's smart but she's also preoccupied with her own issues.
Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I also thought the title of this Chapter very telling. There were a lot of choices for Grace to make. (Marry Alfred, leave Hannah, tell who she thinks is her Father, even telling how Hannah is getting along.)
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice



seattle07 wrote:
I also thought it was interesting that Katie and Alfred (who are both similiar to Grace in age) have challenged the status quo and moved on. I wonder if Grace goes on to get her doctorate as a way to prove to Alfred that she is capable of rising above the circumstances of her birth.
I really wanted Grace to marry Alfred and I also agree with other posters that a) she didn't have to decide right away and b) Alfred wouldn't have made Hannah go public with the fact that they are sisters. I do think that Frederick is her father but I haven't decided if Hannah knows. She's smart but she's also preoccupied with her own issues.




I certainly agree with your post.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice



ashleym919 wrote:
I also wondered why she had to make such an immediate decision, however, imagine for yourself making a discovery as big as the one she has just made about her father (no matter if it is correct). Her head would be swirling and thoughts would not be clear. Grace reacted immediately because she has always wanted family; repeatedly throughout the book she has wished to be part of something bigger than her small family.

Hannah has become the sister she has always wanted. Grace has felt a connection -- real or imagained -- to Hannah and the thought of losing that bond is worse than anything else. Grace had given up on the idea of marriage so saying no to Alfred, though she did care about him, was far less hurtful and terrifying than losing her position with Hannah which has become her identity.

I do not believe Hannah knows that they could be sisters. Hannah seems so utterly caught up in her own tragedy that she wouldn't have time to take hints from the servants or the town. I think Grace is Hannah's only friend and confident so she selfishly makes Grace promise never to leave.

I, personally, liked the character Hannah much more at the beginning of the book. Now she seems to spend all her time feeling sorry for herself. I miss her independent spirit that Teddy has successfully stifled.




You are right,ashleym. Hannah is too involved with Hannah to ever suspect that Grace could be her sister.
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RachelAnn
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I think that the play between Grace figuring out that Frederick is her father and Alfred proposing is actually quite sad. Her loyalty is misplaced. Although Alfred has been different since coming back from the war, he is trying to provide a future for Grace. Grace even in her younger days is concerned about the past.
I know that finding out that your father is someone unexpected is shocking, especially not having one previously. In fact I have personal knowledge of this. But, the chances that Hannah actually knew this is slim. I think that she would have really enjoyed having this secret and sharing it with Grace. The way she loves secrets and sharing them with one person, there is no way she would keep this one.
I think Grace puts her trust in the wrong person. Hannah has used Grace as a toy, a living doll, except Grace is the one who gets to dress and wait on Hannah. Hannah needs someone who loves her implicitly and she finds that in Grace, and exploits it.
Alfred could have done amazing things for Grace and Grace probably would have been very happy. The confusion that Grace was facing at the time of finding out who her father was, was overwhelming. Alfred could have given Grace a little more time or Grace could have approached Hannah about Alfred's proposal. These are things that could have, but did not happen.
I think this was a great chapter because it did make the reader think and question the decisions made.
Reading to a child is the most important thing anyone can ever do!
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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

Another turning point chapter. We have seen some things resolved, Grace now knows her parentage and Alfred has finally asked her to marry him. I don't personally feel that Alfred would want her to expose her parentage, but he clearly wants her to live with him and stop being a servant to the Hartfords. I think Grace has increased feeling of loyalty to the family now that she knows her relationship, but I'm not at all sure that Hannah knows. She likes Grace well enough and probably considers her as much a close friend as a maid, in fact it's clear that she does so, but I think the yearning for a sister is all on Grace's part and it is that bond that keeps her with Hannah. Again we have more of the tragedy building because of the intertwined relationships between the people One can't but feel sorry for Frederick. I must say it does seem unusual that he would have his unacknowledged daughter as a servant in the house. Of course, having her mother near all the time can't have been easy either. In many ways this is a rather sad book.

Nancy
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kmliska
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I am so happy Grace finally figured out that Frederick is her father. It seemed so obvious for so long. I don't think Hannah knows. I think if she did she would treat her differently. I don't think Hannah would be comfortable having her sister as her maid. If she did know when did she find out. I sure she hasn't known all along. I think other members of the family may have known and the may be way she was hired there. Her mother was sure that she would get the job and that maybe because she knew they may feel obligated.
I believe that Grace knew Alfred would not agree to keep the secret from Hannah and let her continue working for her. He would not have thought that was right. Plus he was moving to Ipswich so there really wasn't a way for her to marry him and continue working. I think if she hadn't promised to never leave Hannah she may have really considered giving up her job and marry Alfred. I still think there is a pretty good chance she would have stayed either way just because of the bond she felt she had with Hannah.
3M
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3M
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎12-13-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I don't think Hannah knew. I do wish it would have been more of a surprise to the reader. I knew almost from the beginning.
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Linda10
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎10-02-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

For what it's worth, I'm really disappointed in Grace's "choice" in this chapter. If people chose not to marry because they didn't want to leave their sibling(s), no matter how close the bond, the world would have died out a long time ago. I've loved Alfred all throughout this book. If he had asked me to marry him, I would have said "yes" -- hands down! I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice



Linda10 wrote:
For what it's worth, I'm really disappointed in Grace's "choice" in this chapter. If people chose not to marry because they didn't want to leave their sibling(s), no matter how close the bond, the world would have died out a long time ago. I've loved Alfred all throughout this book. If he had asked me to marry him, I would have said "yes" -- hands down! I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic.




Grace might have believed that Alfred would have stuck by her anyway. Don't you think?
She wanted to help Hannah, at the time, she didn't know she would hurt her worse than it helped her by staying with Hannah. And not that it was her fault.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice



RachelAnn wrote:
I think that the play between Grace figuring out that Frederick is her father and Alfred proposing is actually quite sad. Her loyalty is misplaced. Although Alfred has been different since coming back from the war, he is trying to provide a future for Grace. Grace even in her younger days is concerned about the past.




I agree with you about Grace's misplacement of her loyalties. Although I think she's not preoccupied with the past (I mean, look how long it took her to figure out that Frederick is her father) so much as she is preoccupied with someone else's present -- Hannah's -- rather than her own.
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Readingrat
Posts: 72
Registered: ‎09-26-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I enjoyed the back and forth between Grace trying to figure out who her father is and Alfred's proposal. However, it just about drove me nuts at how long it took Grace to figure the thing out. I wish the author would have masked that information from the reader a little better. I hate knowing that kind of stuff chapters and chapters ahead of when the character knows.
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mrsvaljones
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎12-24-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice

I have to agree that that was the most irritating part of the book. I could just not take the back and forth between her consciences and Alfred. It was almost unbearable and my least favorite part of the book by millions of miles. I kept thinking okay we know the answer already was drag this out. Other than those fews pages the rest of the story flowed so nicely, it was easy reading.
Valerie Jones
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams..." -Dr. Seuss
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART THREE: The Choice


Readingrat wrote:
I enjoyed the back and forth between Grace trying to figure out who her father is and Alfred's proposal. However, it just about drove me nuts at how long it took Grace to figure the thing out. I wish the author would have masked that information from the reader a little better. I hate knowing that kind of stuff chapters and chapters ahead of when the character knows.



You know, over in the Q&A thread with the author, Kate Morton mentions that she never intended it to be a secret from the reader so much as a secret from Grace. I'm sure she explains it more articulately -- if you haven't already done so, check it out! I'm not sure where exactly it is in the thread but Kate has lots of great, insightful things to say about the book.
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