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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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PART TWO: The Photograph

This chapter really moves the story along, and clears up many of the questions we've had so far. (But there is some mystery as to Alfred's whereabouts...)

Among the revelations is the fact that Grace was an archaeologist, which is striking since back in "The Nursery," being an archaeologist was one of Hannah's ambitions (it's on p. 32 if you want to go back and check it out).

In conversation with Ursula, Grace resolves the mystery about John and her relationship with Ruth, confirming what we expected – that she was not naturally a very maternal person - and tying this explicitly to her service at Riverton.

The chapter raises additional questions: What secret is Grace's mother keeping in the photograph (I think we can all guess, but maybe we're wrong...)? What was the extent of Grace's relationship with Alfred? When/under what circumstances did Grace come into money? Is the locket that Hannah wears when she buries The Game the same locket that Grace now has in her possession?

What do you think?

Karen
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Popper19
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I'm really loving how things are revealed to us in this book. All of a sudden, bam, we know what type of doctor Grace is. One question answered, several thousand more to go!
Disappointment. That is the only word I can think of to describe how I felt about Grace leaving her child to go to France. I know not everyone is cut out to be a mother and I know that Grace and Ruth had a strained relationship, but I was hoping that the tension was do to Marcus's recent disapperance and not something as deeply rooted as this! My respect for Grace has gone down considerably at this point. I know that she probably felt trapped with the way she got pregnant and had to get married, but I just don't understand leaving your child. Also, the book alludes to her experiences at Riverton being another reason for her materanl deficiency, and I don't know what happened yet. I don't think it can be anything that will make me believe it was right for her to leave Ruth. Time will tell I guess (hopefully I can finish this book today).
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no4daughter
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎10-15-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I can't blame Grace for not being very maternal in light of her role model in that regard. To me, one of the most touching parts of this book so far is when Grace tells Marcus how suprised she was by the feelings that she had for him when he was born. Being the mother of 3 girls, I can really relate to Grace when she says: "While one's child takes a part of one's heart to use and misuse as they please, a grandchild is different. Gone are the bonds of guilt and responsibility that burden the maternal relationship. The way to love is free." After leaving her child, she must have had a lot of guilt where Ruth was concerned but by making this sacrifice, she would surely have improved Ruth's life.

I remember reading in the beginning of the book when Grace talks about The Game and says something about how she had read the things inside the box. I wonder if she went back and dug up the box after watching Hannah bury it. Grace is turning into quite the spy. Do you think she is reading too much of Sherlock Holmes?
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



Popper19 wrote:
I'm really loving how things are revealed to us in this book. All of a sudden, bam, we know what type of doctor Grace is. One question answered, several thousand more to go!
Disappointment. That is the only word I can think of to describe how I felt about Grace leaving her child to go to France. I know not everyone is cut out to be a mother and I know that Grace and Ruth had a strained relationship, but I was hoping that the tension was do to Marcus's recent disapperance and not something as deeply rooted as this! My respect for Grace has gone down considerably at this point. I know that she probably felt trapped with the way she got pregnant and had to get married, but I just don't understand leaving your child. Also, the book alludes to her experiences at Riverton being another reason for her materanl deficiency, and I don't know what happened yet. I don't think it can be anything that will make me believe it was right for her to leave Ruth. Time will tell I guess (hopefully I can finish this book today).




Yes, things are being revealed, not all as of yet. We have two parts to go. And many more answers to find to the puzzle. I like the new title that was given to the book after the first title. The house at Riverton describes the book perfectly. The greatest character shown in this story is the "House." It certainly has a lively character, many ghosts to haunt it, many scraps and bruises through the years and many harsh and sweet memories of the residents of this house.
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

This chapter really did move the story along like you mentioned. I found the most interesting fact about this chapter is Grace as a mother and a grandmother. How she sent Ruth to live with other people during the war and if I read between the lines correctly during her education also. But it's obvious how she felt about Marcus and I wonder in showing it how Ruth must have felt.
Another thing that's revealed in this chapter is the way she really felt about Alfred and since we know she never married him I wondered how their stories played out.
I guessed at the secret, wondered about the money and the locket guess we'll just have to keep reading.
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psujulie
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I agree that this chapter moved the story along, but it did raise a lot more questions for me. I was shocked to hear that Grace had basically given up Ruth for 4 years. I was very disappointed to hear this; but since I have liked Grace so much up to this point, I'm hoping that there is a very good reason. I can't imagine what trajedy she saw that would have basically made her unable to tend to her child. I also have to wonder if she was running from something and that's why she left her child and went to work in a war hospital. She even mentions that she can take care of strangers, but it was too difficult to let herself get close again.

I am so curious to know how Grace ended up being an archaeologist and how she came into some money. Normally, I would just keep reading all day to find out, but I've been holding back so I can discuss each chapter!

Once again, the theme of guilt appears in this chapter. On pg. 184, Grace has a very unique look on grandparenting, "Gone are the bonds of guilt and responsibility that burden the maternal relationship. The way to love is free." While I do see the truth in the benefits of a grandparent/grandchild relationship, I was a little surprised to see that her idea of parenting is filled with so much guilt. More guilt themes appear later in the chapter. We hear again that Marcus is blaming himself for his wife's death. Grace also believes that Ursula understands "guilt and its peculiarities."

I love how we're seeing the growth of the relationship between Ursula and Grace. Even though it was just a minor thing, Grace did admit a "secret" to Ursula -- that she hasn't read all of Marcus' books. She also opens up about the tapes she's makig for Marcus. I like how they take turns comforting each other. Grace tries to alleviate the guilt Ursula feels for fighting with her father on the day he died. Ursula assures Grace that Marcus is getting her tapes. It's very nice to see an "equal" - give/take - relationship for Grace.
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I really wasn't that shocked about Grace leaving Ruth, from the start she and Ruth have a very formal relationship and from what we know about Grace's own mother I guess history is repeating itself.
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bookhunter
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎06-09-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



no4daughter wrote:
I can't blame Grace for not being very maternal in light of her role model in that regard. To me, one of the most touching parts of this book so far is when Grace tells Marcus how suprised she was by the feelings that she had for him when he was born. Being the mother of 3 girls, I can really relate to Grace when she says: "While one's child takes a part of one's heart to use and misuse as they please, a grandchild is different. Gone are the bonds of guilt and responsibility that burden the maternal relationship. The way to love is free." After leaving her child, she must have had a lot of guilt where Ruth was concerned but by making this sacrifice, she would surely have improved Ruth's life.

I remember reading in the beginning of the book when Grace talks about The Game and says something about how she had read the things inside the box. I wonder if she went back and dug up the box after watching Hannah bury it. Grace is turning into quite the spy. Do you think she is reading too much of Sherlock Holmes?




I just love this quote about grandparenting and how different it is from parenting.

I have a hard time with the fact that Grace abandoned Ruth, too. But she really didn't "abandon" her. Maybe she felt stronger about her duty to do something for the war?

She also says on p 182 that her "empathy was all used up" on those at Riverton. I guess we still don't know what that means. She seems to carry a lot of guilt. We see it here as guilt about how she raised Ruth, but maybe her guilt from whatever happened in the past made her afraid she would not be a good mother. Funny how she says that mothering didn't come naturally...since she was such an exemplery servant!

Ann, bookhunter
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no4daughter
Posts: 73
Registered: ‎10-15-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

After reading the grandparenting quote, I am starting to rethink my current aversion to EVER being a grandparent. Might not be so bad afterall.
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



Popper19 wrote:
I'm really loving how things are revealed to us in this book. All of a sudden, bam, we know what type of doctor Grace is. One question answered, several thousand more to go!
Disappointment. That is the only word I can think of to describe how I felt about Grace leaving her child to go to France. I know not everyone is cut out to be a mother and I know that Grace and Ruth had a strained relationship, but I was hoping that the tension was do to Marcus's recent disapperance and not something as deeply rooted as this! My respect for Grace has gone down considerably at this point. I know that she probably felt trapped with the way she got pregnant and had to get married, but I just don't understand leaving your child. Also, the book alludes to her experiences at Riverton being another reason for her materanl deficiency, and I don't know what happened yet. I don't think it can be anything that will make me believe it was right for her to leave Ruth. Time will tell I guess (hopefully I can finish this book today).




ITA popper and mentioned that in the Grace/Ruth section. My feelings for Grace totally changed when I found she had ditched her child for 4 years without a second thought.

Bonnie
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wendyroba
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎02-21-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



KxBurns wrote:


The chapter raises additional questions: What secret is Grace's mother keeping in the photograph (I think we can all guess, but maybe we're wrong...)?

What do you think?

Karen




Lots of great questions here - and I guess I'll reveal my suspicions now since you asked the question. I am up to page 188 in the book...but have been thinking all along about Grace's mother and why she never returned to Riverton after the birth of Grace...and why she keeps warning Grace to keep the lines drawn between the family and servants. Also there was a place in the book where Frederick sees Grace for the first time and goes white as a ghost as if he is surprised and shocked to see her there (and of course, we know Grace looks just like her mother when her mother was young). I believe Frederick is Grace's bio dad...this may also be why Grace's mother treats her as if she is royalty/visitor when she comes home for a visit.

What do you all think? Am I way off the mark...is it too obvious?
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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I, for one, wish the author had spent just a little more time on the photograph itself. She brought an important detail down to just a small point and I believe that Grace found it more revealing than that.
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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I'm amazed that someone as young as Kate Morton could have such a wonderful perspective of grandparenting. When I read this part, I thought, "Ah-hah, so that's why I have these feelings about my grandson!"
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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I also have suspicions about Frederick's feelings toward Grace. Thinking about the photograph, here's a very pregnant Jemima and a beautiful young girl in Grace's mother. And this is at a time when affairs didn't carry as much stigma as today. Hmmm.
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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

Bonnie wrote that her feelings for Grace changed when she found she had "ditched her child for 4 years without a second thought.
It was very common for single mothers to do that in those days. They would find it necessary to pursue their own goals and would leave their children in the hands of someone they trusted for a period of time.
In fact, my aunt had considered enlisting in the Navy during WWII, but it was a requirement that she sign custody of her young son over to my grandparents. She was loath to do that, so she changed her mind about joining the service. But for many women, they may have not had a choice.
We have to remember, there was no welfare in those days that single women could fall back on until they could get their feet firmly planted and raising children was (and is) hard work and expensive. Not an easy task by oneself.
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Celebri_la_vita
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



lamorgan wrote:
Bonnie wrote that her feelings for Grace changed when she found she had "ditched her child for 4 years without a second thought.
It was very common for single mothers to do that in those days. They would find it necessary to pursue their own goals and would leave their children in the hands of someone they trusted for a period of time.
In fact, my aunt had considered enlisting in the Navy during WWII, but it was a requirement that she sign custody of her young son over to my grandparents. She was loath to do that, so she changed her mind about joining the service. But for many women, they may have not had a choice.
We have to remember, there was no welfare in those days that single women could fall back on until they could get their feet firmly planted and raising children was (and is) hard work and expensive. Not an easy task by oneself.






It doesn't sound like Grace was that thrilled about John. Marriage was somewhat forced on her by the pregnancy, which she probably didn't want. I too, can't imagine giving up one of my children at birth but have never been in Grace's position. She probably resented John, resented the marriage and resented the pregnancy, therefore it probably wasn't that hard to resent the baby and find an excuse to move on...... in her case, to help out with the war. Someone else had the tough job of the early years with Ruth, the most critical years of her life. Even after Grace was back home with Ruth, she was busy pursuing her education. Ruth really didn't have a lot of parental involvement. One could almost feel sorry for her!

~Ruth
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paula_02912
Posts: 492
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

I think that this chapter was a great one for giving answers to numerous questions as you pointed out in your post Karen. I also wondered about what secret her Mother was smiling about in the picture as well...in the margin, I wrote, "she was pregnant with Frederick's baby, Grace...supposition." I think that would be a likely conclusion...the way she is described is as if she is a person in love as well, which could also be the secret she is happy about...

I find it rather interesting that Ursula herself is drawn to Robbie, a character she pretty much made up because she didn't know the real Robbie and had to create a version of him based on her own perceptions of him...this piqued my interest because up to this point, the reader themselves don't know who the real Robert Hunter is...yes, we know he was an illegitimate child, who being the only heir to his father became a man of rank and means...but, we don't really know what he thinks and feels on the inside...perfect characteristics for a poet...

The most symbolic thing I took away from this chapter however is the burial of the Chinese box...I wondered why Hannah would retrieve it from its hiding place in the attic and bury it...was she in her own way burying David? Since he was gone, then conceivabley The Game would never be played again, as Grace thought... I also wondered which book she chose to keep for herself...and why would she keep it in the locket?...the number three also played about in the whole pageantry of the burial...Hannah took three steps, three times then she digs a hole for the burial ceremony...why was it important for Morton to be so exacting when talking about this ritual Hannah performs?
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

Author Unknown
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



lamorgan wrote:
Bonnie wrote that her feelings for Grace changed when she found she had "ditched her child for 4 years without a second thought.
It was very common for single mothers to do that in those days. They would find it necessary to pursue their own goals and would leave their children in the hands of someone they trusted for a period of time.
In fact, my aunt had considered enlisting in the Navy during WWII, but it was a requirement that she sign custody of her young son over to my grandparents. She was loath to do that, so she changed her mind about joining the service. But for many women, they may have not had a choice.
We have to remember, there was no welfare in those days that single women could fall back on until they could get their feet firmly planted and raising children was (and is) hard work and expensive. Not an easy task by oneself.




I actually could have got that- but it is not the way she sounded. Her husband was probably an officer and supporting her. She made it sound as if she was glad for a reason to leave her child and stop being a mother. Ruth was fine and it may not be a major point in the book, but it did change my feelings suddenly in one chapter about Grace. I am still finding her story interesting, but don't relate to her as a person reading it.
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Bonnie824
Posts: 951
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph



Celebri_la_vita wrote:


lamorgan wrote:
Bonnie wrote that her feelings for Grace changed when she found she had "ditched her child for 4 years without a second thought.
It was very common for single mothers to do that in those days. They would find it necessary to pursue their own goals and would leave their children in the hands of someone they trusted for a period of time.
In fact, my aunt had considered enlisting in the Navy during WWII, but it was a requirement that she sign custody of her young son over to my grandparents. She was loath to do that, so she changed her mind about joining the service. But for many women, they may have not had a choice.
We have to remember, there was no welfare in those days that single women could fall back on until they could get their feet firmly planted and raising children was (and is) hard work and expensive. Not an easy task by oneself.






It doesn't sound like Grace was that thrilled about John. Marriage was somewhat forced on her by the pregnancy, which she probably didn't want. I too, can't imagine giving up one of my children at birth but have never been in Grace's position. She probably resented John, resented the marriage and resented the pregnancy, therefore it probably wasn't that hard to resent the baby and find an excuse to move on...... in her case, to help out with the war. Someone else had the tough job of the early years with Ruth, the most critical years of her life. Even after Grace was back home with Ruth, she was busy pursuing her education. Ruth really didn't have a lot of parental involvement. One could almost feel sorry for her!

~Ruth




John sounded fine to me too. I am biased now, but I see Grace as the weak link in that possible family. I doubt anyone could match me for my dislike about my first husband when we separated- but it had no impact at all in how I felt about how baby son. I don't find Grace's feelings normal at all. You are kind to feel sorry for her Ruth.

Bonnie
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gringorn
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎12-26-2007
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Re: PART TWO: The Photograph

Even after finishing this book, I still love Grace but for some reason I think that has alot to do with my not identifying her as a mother. If I did, I would probably not like her much. I know you think that leaving Ruth improved Ruth's life, but does abandonment ever really improve a child's life?
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