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KxBurns
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PART TWO: The Ball and After

We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.

Also, Frederick tells Hannah that she is welcome to take Grace with her: "Lord knows I don't need her here" (p. 263). Is he relieved to get rid of a superfluous member of the staff, seeing her as a financial drain? Or is this further confirmation of our suspicions?

We also learn, from Grace, that the story of the Hartford family is neither fairytale nor romance (p.264). Is it a tragedy? It's perhaps too soon to say but I think part of the answer might be found in this statement from Hannah, spelling out her reasons for marriage:
"If I don't get away soon, my life will be over and I'll be just another name on the family headstone... If I don't marry, my life will be one of two things: an eternity of lonely days in Pa's house, or a relentless succession of boring parties with boring chaperones..." (p.259-260).
I get the feeling she is making a tragic deal...

I want to point out that there are two instances of Grace blatantly eavesdropping in this chapter: when Hannah and Teddy meet outside at the ball, and when Frederick tries to talk Hannah out of marrying Teddy.

The end of the chapter promises the return of Robbie in Part Three. Sounds like things are about to get even more interesting!

Karen
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.





Emmeline is a romantic. She is going to fall in love with anything that comes along. Robbie "saved her life" when she fell in the library, and now she is flirting with Teddy. I think she has the romanticized ideal marraige based on love alone in mind, and Hannah is being more practical.

I was pretty impressed with Lady Clem and Fanny's maneuvers! I didn't think they had that much subtle deceit in them!

So I think our question becomes...should Hannah marry Teddy? Are the reasons compelling enough?

Ann, bookhunter
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GMorrison
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.

Also, Frederick tells Hannah that she is welcome to take Grace with her: "Lord knows I don't need her here" (p. 263). Is he relieved to get rid of a superfluous member of the staff, seeing her as a financial drain? Or is this further confirmation of our suspicions?




Why can't it be both? He certainly can't afford to spend profligately, and I imagine that if Grace is his illegitmate daughter, he doesn't want the reminder sitting right under his nose, day in and day out.

And even if Grace is his child and he does care for her, it's an undeniable fact that the Luxtons are in a much better position to provide for her than is he. And given Frederick's proven record of rough behavior to disguise tenderness, I can see this as a distinct possibility.



We also learn, from Grace, that the story of the Hartford family is neither fairytale nor romance (p.264). Is it a tragedy? It's perhaps too soon to say but I think part of the answer might be found in this statement from Hannah, spelling out her reasons for marriage:
"If I don't get away soon, my life will be over and I'll be just another name on the family headstone... If I don't marry, my life will be one of two things: an eternity of lonely days in Pa's house, or a relentless succession of boring parties with boring chaperones..." (p.259-260).
I get the feeling she is making a tragic deal...



Or maybe she's just making the best of a sub-optimal situation. After all, that's a pretty pragmatic assessment of her options, and unlike Emmeline she's not operating under any pretensions that there's a Prince Charming out there to sweep her off her feet. I wonder if the tragedy is that Hannah ends up getting the life that would make Emmeline happiest. Or they both end up living the life that would make the other happiest. Or perhaps Hannah ends up in a situation that isn't ideal, but isn't bad, while Emmeline spends her life looking for love in all the wrong places.
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psujulie
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

In this chapter, Lady Violet passes away a happy woman because Hannah is marrying "well." I think her passing represents the last tie to the old or traditional family. I also think she has controlled a great many things within the house during her life. Based on Grace's mother's reaction to her death, I'm wondering if Lady Violet is the reason that she had to leave service at Riverton.

I also found it interesting that Emmeline is so attracted to Teddy. In the last chapter, we see her getting excited for the ball because he will be there. She doesn't feel that he is too old for her and she obviously finds him a "catch." In this chapter, we see her dancing closely with him. When Hannah leaves the house after marrying him, Emmeline doesn't even see her off. I think she is upset that Hannah is leaving her alone in the house, but I wonder how much of it is jealousy. Could this be a sign that things are going to get more strained between the two sisters? Or, that they will eventually compete for the same man?

I have seen that Hannah and Emmeline have been gradually growing apart. The two sisters personalities are very different, and Emmeline's youth seems to be annoying Hannah more and more. I think the symbol of the locket is huge in this chapter again! On pg. 259 and 260, Hannah hands over her locket to Emmeline -- kind of like passing down her ties and obligations to her family. Emmeline shows her disregard for the locket by swinging it around, and Hannah worries that she'll break it. Later, we see that the hinge on the locket broke and the clasp would no longer hold the small book left over from the Game.

I also found it interesting that Hannah chose to wear her mother's old fashioned gown rather than a more modern dress. Of course, the family may not have had enough money to get a new one, but I thought the decision further showed the difference between the two sisters. While it may first appear that Hannah is more modern and forward thinking than Emmeline, she still feels family obligations and ultimately makes a traditional decision for her life. We know that Emmeline, who is interested in marrying well and falling in love like Romeo and Juliet, eventually has a career as a film star and takes a more modern path. I'm dying to read on and find out what takes place for these changes to occur.

One other point of interest for me was that the first person Hannah told about Teddy's proposal was Grace. Of course, Grace was eavesdropping so there was no real surprise for her. Hannah says that she has a secret and that Grace has kept her secrets before. What I found odd was that Grace says that, "... I had the distinct feeling I had failed some osrt of test" with her response. Do you think Hannah wanted to be talked out of it? Or do you think that she wanted Grace to reinforce her decision?
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dhaupt
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

[ Edited ]
I don't think Emmeline is in love with Teddy any more than she was in love with Robbie when he patched her up. I think she's in love with the ideal of love having never really seen it before.
Grace's departure from Riverton I think is because Frederick doesn't want her there, does she remind him of his ill gotten past I don't know. Since he's loosing all his dearest as he says of Hannah's marrying Teddy maybe she means more to him then he lets on. I really don't always understand Frederick weather it's because he hides behind his stoic British facade or maybe he just doesn't have feelings.
I'm also sad to loose Lady Violet to her illness in this chapter.
Of course it's a tragedy can't you see fate standing in the back round laughing.

Message Edited by dhaupt on 01-09-2008 10:31 AM
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.

We also learn, from Grace, that the story of the Hartford family is neither fairytale nor romance (p.264). Is it a tragedy? It's perhaps too soon to say but I think part of the answer might be found in this statement from Hannah, spelling out her reasons for marriage:
"If I don't get away soon, my life will be over and I'll be just another name on the family headstone... If I don't marry, my life will be one of two things: an eternity of lonely days in Pa's house, or a relentless succession of boring parties with boring chaperones..." (p.259-260).
I get the feeling she is making a tragic deal...

I want to point out that there are two instances of Grace blatantly eavesdropping in this chapter: when Hannah and Teddy meet outside at the ball, and when Frederick tries to talk Hannah out of marrying Teddy.



I think Emmeline would fall in love with any man she comes into contact with. She wants Teddy, I think, mostly because Hannah has him. Emmeline certainly seems like the kind of girl who would be even more attracted to someone who is "off-limits".

I was a little bit startled when Grace said the story was not a fairytale nor a romance. It seems like a romance to me (I've read the whole book, & it still seems that way). Maybe not in the happily-ever-after sense, but certainly in the sense that it's a story about love & romantic aspirations.

The problem with this kind of narration, from only one perspective, is that Grace has to eavesdrop if the reader is to get the full story. On one hand, it makes Grace seem more fallible, more human. On the other hand, it draws attention to the narration & makes the whole premise seem a little contrived.
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kiakar
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



bookhunter wrote:


KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.





Emmeline is a romantic. She is going to fall in love with anything that comes along. Robbie "saved her life" when she fell in the library, and now she is flirting with Teddy. I think she has the romanticized ideal marraige based on love alone in mind, and Hannah is being more practical.

I was pretty impressed with Lady Clem and Fanny's maneuvers! I didn't think they had that much subtle deceit in them!

So I think our question becomes...should Hannah marry Teddy? Are the reasons compelling enough?

Ann, bookhunter





I don't think either sister knew what true love really was. I do not feel that Hannah should marry Teddy. She doesn't love him, she finds something in him that she thinks can make her happier. Such as to see the world and he is rich. Emmeline is definitely a romantic but she hasnt a clue how to love a person to the end. The bed of roses want last much past the honeymoon.
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kiakar
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

One other point of interest for me was that the first person Hannah told about Teddy's proposal was Grace. Of course, Grace was eavesdropping so there was no real surprise for her. Hannah says that she has a secret and that Grace has kept her secrets before. What I found odd was that Grace says that, "... I had the distinct feeling I had failed some osrt of test" with her response. Do you think Hannah wanted to be talked out of it? Or do you think that she wanted Grace to reinforce her decision?




Of course Hannah would have doubts about Teddy because she doesn't love him just wants to use him for her advantage. Being young also, she wants some one else to approve a choice she knows is very wrong for her and Teddy. And as far as Grace easedropping, if you heard someone talking about marriage, wouldn't you listen, I know I would. Am I the only nosy one around here.?
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



crazyasitsounds wrote:


The problem with this kind of narration, from only one perspective, is that Grace has to eavesdrop if the reader is to get the full story. On one hand, it makes Grace seem more fallible, more human. On the other hand, it draws attention to the narration & makes the whole premise seem a little contrived.




And this narration technique is an irritation to me, sometimes. There are times it seems really artificial and contrived. For example, when Grace observes the first meeting of the girls and Robbie Hunter it is because she is in the library. She is in the library because she just HAPPENS to have been given this new task of dusting all the books. The others just HAPPEN to be in the library because of the Christmas tree, which just HAPPENED to be too large to go any where else.

I like it much better when (p245) the story of their courtship on the bridge comes to Grace because Hannah told it to her later.

It also makes me questions Grace's role in the story. Is she really a character in the novel, or just the narrator? We know much more about the personalities of the others than we do Grace, don't you think?

Ann, bookhunter
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no4daughter
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

I agree wholeheartedly that Emmeline is in love with the idea of love as well as with the romance of Romeo and Juliet.
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LucNesbitt
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After


bookhunter wrote:

Emmeline is a romantic. She is going to fall in love with anything that comes along. Robbie "saved her life" when she fell in the library, and now she is flirting with Teddy. I think she has the romanticized ideal marraige based on love alone in mind, and Hannah is being more practical.





I would agree with this as well, particularly given the conversation in an earlier chapters between Emmeline and Hannah about the "intimacies" of marriage. Emmeline has no idea what is being referenced so that leads me to believe no one has ever told her about marriage. Given that she doesn't have a mother, I imagine all her ideas of marriage and being a wife are very skewed. She really has no one to look to as a role model or to ask questions of.
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mrstreme
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

I think Hannah sees marrying Teddy as a way to gain more independence and to get out from underneath her father's thumb. She really wants to be woman who finds her own way in the world - working, traveling, studying art - and she knows her father won't allow her. Teddy's escapades around Europe and his comments about his dad's business probably led Hannah to believing that Teddy is more progressive than men from her father's generation.

It's an interesting juxtaposition of the older generation holding on to those old societal traditions and the new generation who is restless and wants to "do their own thing."
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Librarian
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.

Also, Frederick tells Hannah that she is welcome to take Grace with her: "Lord knows I don't need her here" (p. 263). Is he relieved to get rid of a superfluous member of the staff, seeing her as a financial drain? Or is this further confirmation of our suspicions?

We also learn, from Grace, that the story of the Hartford family is neither fairytale nor romance (p.264). Is it a tragedy? It's perhaps too soon to say but I think part of the answer might be found in this statement from Hannah, spelling out her reasons for marriage:
"If I don't get away soon, my life will be over and I'll be just another name on the family headstone... If I don't marry, my life will be one of two things: an eternity of lonely days in Pa's house, or a relentless succession of boring parties with boring chaperones..." (p.259-260).
I get the feeling she is making a tragic deal...



I think Emmeline is infatuated with Teddy and infatuated with the idea of romance and marriage, not truly in love with him. I don't think Hannah is thinking right either. She doesn't love Teddy but thinks she will have her opportunities for adventure with him. Also I don't think Frederick is really thinking about Hannah's welfare in cautioning her not to marry Teddy. I think he has his own concerns about business and about not being left by his favorite daughter.
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rkreilly
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



bookhunter wrote:


It also makes me questions Grace's role in the story. Is she really a character in the novel, or just the narrator? We know much more about the personalities of the others than we do Grace, don't you think?

Ann, bookhunter




I like this idea of Grace as the narrator! Though she is a participant in the story, she doesn't appear to be necessary, or even one of the main characters- I like this view!

As far as people saying it's too much for her to be eavesdropping, just a convenience of the story, I disagree. When people live in the same house together, no matter who it is- there are always conversations that are interesting to get more of, or things that just happen to be overheard! I think this is a normal part of living in the same household and frequent exposure to the same people.
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Tarri
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:
We backtrack slightly here, but this chapter raises some significant questions. Foremost in my mind is whether Emmeline is in love with Teddy. She flirts with him at the ball and later implores Hannah to leave him for someone who will truly love him.



Emmeline is about 15 and in love with the idea of love, she certainly has a crush on Teddy.


KxBurns wrote:
Also, Frederick tells Hannah that she is welcome to take Grace with her: "Lord knows I don't need her here" (p. 263). Is he relieved to get rid of a superfluous member of the staff, seeing her as a financial drain? Or is this further confirmation of our suspicions?



I am again thinking that Frderick wants Grace gone because he reminds her of a past mistake. Whether the mistake is that Grace is his daughter or that he loved her mother and let her get away, I wonder if we'll know.


KxBurns wrote:
I want to point out that there are two instances of Grace blatantly eavesdropping in this chapter: when Hannah and Teddy meet outside at the ball, and when Frederick tries to talk Hannah out of marrying Teddy.



At this point Grace has lived with the family for about five years and probably feels they are her family. Although, she didn't eavesdrop on Hannah and Teddy on purpose, it was more of a wrong place, right time.


KxBurns wrote:
The end of the chapter promises the return of Robbie in Part Three. Sounds like things are about to get even more interesting!

Karen




Very interesting, I wonder what he is bringing back from the war.

I'm not surprised that Hannah wore her mother's dress, because I don't think Hannah cared enough about the wedding to get a new one.

Message Edited by Tarri on 01-09-2008 05:42 PM
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jforever52
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

I definitely think that Hannah was wanting someone to talk her out of her decision. Just prior to the ball Hannah spent so much time trying to think of a way out of her life's predicament. It had to feel odd that this "solution" fell right into her lap. I think Hannah sees Grace as a symbol of independence and freedom and was looking to her to justify her underlying feeling that accepting the marriage proposal was not the correct path to take. Perhaps her resolve to marry was only strengthened when Grace gave her blessing to the whole thing.
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After



jforever52 wrote:
I definitely think that Hannah was wanting someone to talk her out of her decision. Just prior to the ball Hannah spent so much time trying to think of a way out of her life's predicament. It had to feel odd that this "solution" fell right into her lap. I think Hannah sees Grace as a symbol of independence and freedom and was looking to her to justify her underlying feeling that accepting the marriage proposal was not the correct path to take. Perhaps her resolve to marry was only strengthened when Grace gave her blessing to the whole thing.




The exchange between Hannah and Grace on page 254-255 is right after he proposes, and she does still seem unsure of how she will answer. But by the time of the wedding, she is arguing with her father that she is GOING to get married--even if it means estrangement from him.

Do you all think that she is so firm in her choice to marry because she will be getting some freedom, because she thinks this is the best option for her life and she will come to love him, or because she "owes" him and his family for the sale of her father's factory land? (Not what he wanted, but saved him from bankruptcy)

Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

After re-reading the exchange between Hannah and her father on pages 261-263, I am struck by something. When Grace leaves the room, Hannah tells her that she will miss her when she moves to London. Then at the end of the arguement with her father, she tells him that she will be taking Grace with her.

It looks to me like this arguement is the "adulting" of Hannah. She is standing firm in her decision against her father (funny that it is a decision to get married and not a decision to get a JOB). When he tells her she won't be welcome at Riverton if she marries him, she just says, "Goodnight" to him.

It is as if this is a break in their relationship--especially of the parent/child relationship, and she is now on her own. And on her own, she makes an adult decision to take her "staff" with her into her new life. She doesn't ask, she just tells him. And apparently it is a decision she makes because of the arguement.

Ann, bookhunter
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goingeast
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After

[ Edited ]
I know this is quite off the topic of a book discussion, but I was wondering if anyone imagines certain actors as characters in the book while reading a novel. I find that certain actors often come to mind while I read a book and was wondering if anyone else does this. While I don't always imagine specific actors when reading a novel, I found that this book, in particular led me to think of certain popular actors today. Emma Watson immediately came to mind for Grace and James McAvoy for Robbie Hunter. I could see Kate Winslet playing the part of Hannah and Amy Adams effectively playing Emmeline. I had just seen the movie Eastern Promises and when I started reading about Alfred (my favorite character in this book and the only one with any redeeming qualities) I immediately thought of the actor Vincent Cassel. I know everyone will disagree with me but those are the people I had imagined while reading. For some reason the other major characters did not bring any particular character to mind. I think this book would make an excellent movie at some point (especially if they cast it with the actors I mentioned :smileyhappy:).

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-10-2008 11:11 AM
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KxBurns
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Re: PART TWO: The Ball and After


bookhunter wrote:
After re-reading the exchange between Hannah and her father on pages 261-263, I am struck by something. When Grace leaves the room, Hannah tells her that she will miss her when she moves to London. Then at the end of the arguement with her father, she tells him that she will be taking Grace with her.

It looks to me like this arguement is the "adulting" of Hannah. She is standing firm in her decision against her father (funny that it is a decision to get married and not a decision to get a JOB). When he tells her she won't be welcome at Riverton if she marries him, she just says, "Goodnight" to him.

It is as if this is a break in their relationship--especially of the parent/child relationship, and she is now on her own. And on her own, she makes an adult decision to take her "staff" with her into her new life. She doesn't ask, she just tells him. And apparently it is a decision she makes because of the arguement.

Ann, bookhunter



Wow, Ann, what a great catch, noticing that Hannah had not originally intended to bring Grace along! And if Grace had, in fact, failed some kind of test in not expressing disapproval for Hannah's engagement to Teddy, it's no wonder that Hannah suddenly aligns herself with Grace in the face of her father's anger and disapproval of her choice.

There have been several ideas as to the basis for Frederick's objection to the marriage: the loss of a favored child; resentment over the way the business relationship with the Luxtons ended...

Does anyone think Frederick is trying to prevent his daughter from making a mistake that he made? That maybe he hopes to spare her the heartbreak of a marriage of convenience?...
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