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vivico1
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Re: THEMES: Secrets


bentley wrote:
From the viewpoint of Emmeline and Grace, maybe they concocted in their mind that it was self-defense and that Emmeline was about to be hurt after she was the one who threatened to kill one of them. All one can say is that this is one party that turned into an awful mess which could have been avoided. And nobody is condoning adultery or any of the other characters'sins/lies/deceptions they committed.



Bentley


Don't forget what was going on at that moment that had Robbie charging them and ready to kill Emmeline. All the fireworks were going off with big bangs and sounds of guns. Just like before and just like with Alfred, when he went into a episode of "shell shock". He already nearly killed Hannah by choking her after waking from a dream of war. He jumped the man at the street party and later said, I could have killed him. Though they brought this on themselves by their actions, at this point, it really is self defense because in his hysteria and that gun there, he would have killed one of them,and in a struggle who knows which one. But most likely he would not have killed himself, he was in that killer mind at that moment so hard he was not hearing what Hannah was saying. He may have turned the gun on himself after he realized what he had done, but by this point, he was going to kill someone and he was screaming for it to be Emmie the "perceived enemy". Hannah had to do what she did by then to protect her and her sister. That part was real.
Vivian
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets - MAJOR SPOILER WITHIN RESPONSE


vivico1 wrote:

bentley wrote:
From the viewpoint of Emmeline and Grace, maybe they concocted in their mind that it was self-defense and that Emmeline was about to be hurt after she was the one who threatened to kill one of them. All one can say is that this is one party that turned into an awful mess which could have been avoided. And nobody is condoning adultery or any of the other characters'sins/lies/deceptions they committed.



Bentley


Don't forget what was going on at that moment that had Robbie charging them and ready to kill Emmeline. All the fireworks were going off with big bangs and sounds of guns. Just like before and just like with Alfred, when he went into a episode of "shell shock". He already nearly killed Hannah by choking her after waking from a dream of war. He jumped the man at the street party and later said, I could have killed him. Though they brought this on themselves by their actions, at this point, it really is self defense because in his hysteria and that gun there, he would have killed one of them,and in a struggle who knows which one. But most likely he would not have killed himself, he was in that killer mind at that moment so hard he was not hearing what Hannah was saying. He may have turned the gun on himself after he realized what he had done, but by this point, he was going to kill someone and he was screaming for it to be Emmie the "perceived enemy". Hannah had to do what she did by then to protect her and her sister. That part was real.




True Vivian. The events you described did happen. Robbie was assuredly suffering from some sort of war trauma and was acting out situations as if he had to defend himself against the Germans or other enemies while fighting the war. Even Hannah saw and experienced first hand how dangerous Robbie could be; when he actually tried to strangle her - completely not comprehending what he was doing. But remember she was able to bring him back to his senses as tough as it was.

The fireworks going off like the sounds of guns more than likely brought Robbie's mind back to the war. He probably felt that he was fighting a war in order to save Hannah and himself from being killed.

Maybe he said those same words to David and David may have had a problem pulling the trigger and that is why he died; someone killed him first. Of course that is all supposition, but I think that Hannah was just playing The Game and toying with Robbie's affections (she liked/loved him well enough - but not enough to give up her position and Riverton).

Only this time..The Game had a bitter end. More secrets, more lies, more deceptions. The Game's rules said that the game had to be played with three people.

My theory:
At first, the three were David, Hannah and reluctantly they let Emmeline play. The two major players were David and Hannah. David broke one of the sacred rules when he told Robbie; in fact, Hannah called David on it and was angry with him. She gave David one of the Games journals when he left and when he was dying or died the instructions were to give it back to Neferiti (Hannah)..the keeper of the secrets. David was dead and entrusted Robbie with the journal and that knowledge; Robbie became a player (David's replacement) unwittingly that night and so did Grace (all engineered by Hannah). Hannah set the play in motion; she was allowing Robbie to think that they were going to run away on their great adventure; and that she was going to give up everything that she had in her life of privilege to live on his boat as a "fallen woman", I guess.

Hannah though made some big misjudgements and decided in the course of the adventure that Emmeline was no longer to be trusted as a player of The Game; and then Grace became the chosen substitute third player. Hannah's letter said, "You have been with me a long time on this adventure."

I, for one, do not think based upon what was said in the book that Hannah would have gone through with this escape; it was a fantasy and she was playing a version of The Game. Emmeline was not to receive her letter when she did, not until the following day. Hannah had purchased Grace's secrecy once again with the gift and I believe really wanted Grace to have a life that she knew that she could not have. Grace (if she knew shorthand) would not have worried about Hannah committing suicide; and would have been silent until the next day when if Hannah had not come back would have given the letter to Emmeline. Emmeline would never have been down at the lake and I do not believe would have received any letter. Hannah would have been back long before then.

What I feel was happening is that Hannah yearned to see Robbie and this party gave her that chance. She allowed Robbie to play in the game with his plans to have her run away with him and live I surmise on his boat for a time. I doubt very much that Hannah would have run away with Robbie that night. She would have pretended that she was going to and been with him down by the lake and shared intimacies and then she would have told him that she could not go through with it. The two letters were her journals just like the journals for all of her other GAME adventures. She would not have wanted to BE the fallen women; she cared about how things looked on the outside.

And as long as she could secretly act our her fantasies and adventures without being caught...she was OK with that. Robbie on the otherhand was unstable..and when and if Hannah told him that she could not go through with it; he would most likely have taken his own life either there at the lake or later. Hannah was not counting on Grace not knowing shorthand and she was definately not counting on having been deceived by Grace herself. If Grace had known shorthand, nothing would have happened when Hannah was playing the game. She would have gone undetected and have returned to her hohum marriage at the end of the evening...Teddy none the wiser. Grace would not have told anyone as yet and everything would go on as it once had before. She still would not have had to tell anyone about her illicit liaison. But Grace unwittingly did not know she was playing The Game and set the wheels in motion. She actually showed Emmeline the letter a day earlier and that is why Robbie was shot. Emmeline could not have shot either Robbie or Hannah; that was apparent. But Hannah did not want to risk being found out. Robbie came unglued and was scrambling to reach Emmeline; but Grace was there and Hannah had talked Robbie out of these episodes before. But she knew that then she had not choice but to kill Robbie because a) Emmeline would tell, b) the most vital reason..she never intended to go off with Robbie and now Teddy would find out. Hannah made a split second decision and killed Robbie and saved Emmeline. Emmeline was relieved and then jumped in and became an accomplice and told Grace to run back to the house with the suitcase. If a policeman had killed Robbie like that..there would have been cries of police abuse or that Robbie had been killed in cold blood. Which let us not forget he was.

The police were never allowed to investigate and they never were allowed to discuss anything with Hannah or Emmeline. Everybody was bought off in some way. Everyone one wanted to believe that this was a suicide when it could never have been. I am sure that if Hannah was questioned they would have realized that Hannah had the evidence of firing that gun all over her hands and Robbie did not; they may have found the gun that Emmeline was carrying and Emmeline might have told the police that Grace was there. The letters would have come out, Hannah would have been implicated and the House of Riverton would have fallen like a house of cards.

Net, net: Hannah never really intended to leave and that is why she so turned on Grace after that. It was not just about Grace not knowing shorthand; but what that secret ruined for her while she was only playing The Game. Hannah did not ever want to kill Robbie but that was the only way of saving her own neck and privileged life, I think that Emmeline was the second and distant reason.

Bentley
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dhaupt
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

I think the secrets in the book were kept to protect others and themselves.
If Grace had confided in Hannah early on that she didn't know shorthand, that was a definite secret that if it hadn't been kept would have produced another outcome.
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Re: THEMES: Secrets - MAJOR SPOILER WITHIN RESPONSE secrets are little white lies

This book could have been written for people who are trying not to tell lies. Because it takes a innocent lie or secret and tells how it is woven into a major disaster. Of courses there are other obtructions along the way, but basically when we tell any lie or secret we do not know how it will play out. It might seem small, not major in content, but then it can magnify and blow up after a while. As it did with Hannah and Grace. The old saying is really true. Lies definitely can come back to haunt you. And they did Grace many many times in her life up until her death.
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



dhaupt wrote:
I think the secrets in the book were kept to protect others and themselves.
If Grace had confided in Hannah early on that she didn't know shorthand, that was a definite secret that if it hadn't been kept would have produced another outcome.




When you think about it nothing would have come of the original secrets; Hannah would have known that Grace was hiding a book and Grace would have known that Hannah was taking shorthand (both would have been silent about each other in order to protect themselves).

And then Hannah would never have written a letter that Grace could not read.
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Iulievich
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

[ Edited ]
I'm having either an epiphany or a neural meltdown!

Why does Grace tell Marcus the story when she has concealed it from Ruth all of her life?

I will ignore the reasons why she did not tell Ruth and cut straight to the chase.

Grace sees herself as the last of the Hartfords.

She knows that her own mortality is about to overwhelm her. She will not be around much longer. The secret of her own lineage will die with her if she does not tell somebody.

I think that she wants in her own way to perpetuate the Hartford bloodline and to cement her own place in it by telling Marcus how it is that he himself is descended from the Lords Ashbury.

On a darker and uglier note, she wants him to be the ONLY descendant. I am afraid that this may be if not the entire reason then at least a factor in her determination that Ursula -- Hannah's great grandaughter -- will remain in ignorance.

Is Grace, in the end, actually triumphing over Hannah?

Or am I just losing my mind completely? Do I need to go back to reading Justinian's Flea?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 06:40 PM
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



Iulievich wrote:
I'm having either an epiphany or a neural meltdown!

Why does Grace tell Marcus the story when she has concealed it from Ruth all of her life?

I will ignore the reasons why she did not tell Ruth and cut straight to the chase.

Grace sees herself as the last of the Hartfords.

She knows that her own mortality is about to overwhelm her. She will not be around much longer. The secret of her own lineage will die with her if she does not tell somebody.

I think that she wants in her own way to perpetuate the Hartford bloodline and to cement her own place in it by telling Marcus how it is that he himself is descended from the Lords Ashbury.

On a darker and uglier note, she wants him to be the ONLY descendant. I am afraid that this may be if not the entire reason then at least a factor in her determination that Ursula -- Hannah's great grandaughter -- will remain in ignorance.

Is Grace, in the end, actually triumphing over Hannah?

Or am I just losing my mind completely? Do I need to go back to reading Justinian's Flea?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 06:40 PM




You may be right Iulievich..maybe Grace is more the Hartford than we surmised. She had to make the connection that Florence was her niece and a cousin of sorts to Marcus (making Ursula and Marcus related)..yet she remained silent and did not seem to ask Ursula any questions you might think she would ask.

Very interesting theory.

Bentley
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vivico1
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Re: THEMES: Secrets


Iulievich wrote:
I'm having either an epiphany or a neural meltdown!

Why does Grace tell Marcus the story when she has concealed it from Ruth all of her life?

I will ignore the reasons why she did not tell Ruth and cut straight to the chase.

Grace sees herself as the last of the Hartfords.

She knows that her own mortality is about to overwhelm her. She will not be around much longer. The secret of her own lineage will die with her if she does not tell somebody.

I think that she wants in her own way to perpetuate the Hartford bloodline and to cement her own place in it by telling Marcus how it is that he himself is descended from the Lords Ashbury.

On a darker and uglier note, she wants him to be the ONLY descendant. I am afraid that this may be if not the entire reason then at least a factor in her determination that Ursula -- Hannah's great grandaughter -- will remain in ignorance.

Is Grace, in the end, actually triumphing over Hannah?

Or am I just losing my mind completely? Do I need to go back to reading Justinian's Flea?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 06:40 PM


Its an idea anyway. I tend to think we have looked for deeper meaning in some things than werent there. We have run into it before up to now. I think she wanted Marcus to know maybe simply because as she said, he was the only one she felt connected to emotionally since the house and she feels for her grandson estranged from his mother. I think she feels Marcus, if anyone, would not only be interested, but understand her more and she was dying and knew it. It was her legacy to him, maybe not so much as a tie to a well known family, as a tie to who she really is and was "inside her own skin" and thats the skin that is his family, who he feels ties for.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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goingeast
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

Grace seems to believe that no one knew the secret. But it seems they did. Ursula is the one who mentions that it was rumoured that the poet and Hannah were lovers. In those days rumours were as good as the truth. Surely, the downstairs staff knew what was going on. So where's the secret? Who ever heard of someone committing suicide with two other people present. They were so close to him the blood was all over their hair and clothes. Yes, there were secrets, but the affair wasn't one of them. I believe they knew he was killed.
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



IBIS wrote:
br>
For example, Grace's mother exercised her personal right to keep Grace's biological father private; for her own personal reasons, she chose not to tell Grace. We may not agree with her decision, but by itself, it's not a damaging "secret" on the same level as lying about Hannah's actions during the night of Robbie's death.






But in another story, it could have been. She sent her daughter off to work in a house where one of the family has already had relations with one servant (if we believe the conclusion Grace arrives at). If Frederick (or David) chose to have a relationship with this newest member of the staff... Would it not be within Grace's rights--or Frederick's--to know who her father was?

In our small town the joke is that you better check with Mama before you go on a date with someone new. You just might be related.

Ann, bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


Peppermill wrote:
Fellow readers -- I am stunned! Deception, Robbie's and Hannah's, might be considered "causes". Failure to honor martial commitments might be considered a contributing "cause." Carrying a hidden gun into a party might be considered "cause." Alcohol and jealousy might have been contributing causes. Shooting a loaded gun certainly has a possibility of being considered a "cause."

But, insofar as Grace's secret about shorthand versus book purchase causing what happened? What happened may indeed never have happened without Hannah's gullibility and acceptance of Grace's lie. But that is a far cry from that lie/that secret being "the cause" (of what -- of only Robbie's death, or also of Emmie and Hannah's subsequent fates?).

And, I am not disagreeing that very small seemingly petty things we say (or don't say) as humans can have far ranging and devastating consequences, for better or for worse. (They certainly did here.)

Oh, do I really want the bashing I know I am about to receive? No, but I do think this discussion is crucial to plummeting Morton's message. Maybe I am wrong, but if I am, this book will become a two star rather than a four star one in my rating (to date, I have not given five stars to a new book after a one plus reading).

Message Edited by Peppermill on 01-14-2008 01:16 AM




Peppermill, I agree with you that this discussion is important. But I am not sure I agree with your evaluation of the cause of Robby's death.

What wendyroba says above is that the point of the climax is that this trivial secret (Grace's lack of knowledge of shorthand) becomes the reason for the death of Robby. And it is the reason for Grace feeling guilty for so long.

Much of what you list as causes are definitely causes for tragedy and may have led to death eventually. Deception and failure to honor marraige, hidden guns, alcohol, jealousy... all potential tragedies.

But what made Robby die that night was the presence of Emmeline at the lake. She was the conflict. She had the gun. And Emmeline was there because Grace couldn't read shorthand.

You say in an earlier post, "However, it equally important to recognize that this secret did not cause the outcome. Also, we should consider whether that particular secret is the main source of Grace's sense of guilt or guilty feelings. Another, far more profound secret impacted all the sisters and their subsequent lives. And, perhaps more than one secret, depending how one counts and combines."

We have talked about sooo many secrets! What profound secret are you talking about? One we haven't mentioned?

What DO you think caused the outcome that evening?

I hope my disagreeing is not seen as bashing you.

Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Bentley,

I am going to try to summarize what you said in a previous post: Hannah was playing The Game and never intended to leave that night with Robbie. By killing Robbie, she was protecting Emmeline, but also, and ultimately, protecting herself and her reputation. (Apologies if I have misrepresented your thoughts in any way.)

You may be right, especially about the importance of The Game in Hannah's mind, but I do think she was planning to leave.

1. Before the party she is acting strangly. On page 453 she is described by Grace as "tense and jumpy" all day. That may be acting the part in The Game, or it may be that she is so caught up in playing The Game that she really is tense, but I see it as anxiety about The PLAN more than The Game.

2. She says things that seem like "goodbyes". What a pretty view out the window. Kisses Grace and tells her Good luck...

3. She gives Grace the locket! This seems a deal-breaker in your theory, to me. Why would she give the locket since we know how important it is to her? Will she ask for it back when the Game is over the next day? I think it is crucial to her appearance of suicide, but also her leaving the old life and moving onto the new.

4. Why the suitcase? If she was planning to not really go, why did she pack a suitcase?

5. Why the letters? That was risky information to reveal if it was just a game.

I think you are right about her playing The Game, but once they came to Riverton and she discovered she was pregnant with Robbie's child, it became real. In the days leading up to the party she is happy and peaceful--that is because of the pregnancy, not because she is planning an elaborate game.

Ultimately, she chose Emmeline over Robbie. But the irony is that she finally DID something, and still lost everything.

What do you think?
Ann, bookhunter
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msangielewis
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

Spoiler Alert - A lot of the posts on this theme dwell on Grace's secrets. But I didn't feel like she kept secrets to be hurtful to anyone. She kept the secret about the shorthand because she was scared of losing her job, and then later to keep a connection with someone she admired and needed. She kept the secret about whoe she suspected her father was because nobody would have believed her and she would have lost what little she had. And, she kept Hannah's secrets because that kept them tied together. I think that Hannah created her own downfall because of her enjoyment of and need for secrets. She built up a fantasy life as a child, but was born in a time and into a family where those adventures could not have happened. If she really trusted Grace, she could have told her of her plans and extracted her promise to do as she asked. But that wouldn't be creative or adventurous enough for Hannah, so she turned it into a game. And from there, things just spun out of control.
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Peppermill
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Ann -- let me see if I can be cogent. First, you are definitely not bashing me! This is the kind of conversation it would be fun to have by a roaring fire over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

To me this is so obvious, so I don't understand why it isn't to everyone else!!??

1 -- the "big" secret that Grace carried all her life was knowing what happened that night at the lake. We could go on for hours on "why" -- there are lots of interesting possibilities and probabilities. But, for now, let me say that it is the secret for which I suspect Grace was legally culpable, and so remained throughout her life. At least today in this country, I believe a homicide case remains open forever, even if prematurely closed based on wrong information. (Some lawyer on this board can correct if this is incorrect -- but the point is secondary to the simplicity of this being the "big secret", at least in my reading of the story.)

2 -- now, why do I state that the secret about shorthand did not cause Robbie's death? First, I quite agree with everyone who says what happened that night probably would have been entirely different if Grace a) read shorthand or b) Hannah realized she didn't.

But, suppose this case had gone to a court trial. Would any jury have convicted Grace because she had kept a secret about shorthand? (Even in the 1920's as a lady's maid?)

Let me try that explanation for now. If it still doesn't make sense, try me again!


bookhunter wrote:

Peppermill wrote:
Fellow readers -- I am stunned! Deception, Robbie's and Hannah's, might be considered "causes". Failure to honor martial commitments might be considered a contributing "cause." Carrying a hidden gun into a party might be considered "cause." Alcohol and jealousy might have been contributing causes. Shooting a loaded gun certainly has a possibility of being considered a "cause."

But, insofar as Grace's secret about shorthand versus book purchase causing what happened? What happened may indeed never have happened without Hannah's gullibility and acceptance of Grace's lie. But that is a far cry from that lie/that secret being "the cause" (of what -- of only Robbie's death, or also of Emmie and Hannah's subsequent fates?).

And, I am not disagreeing that very small seemingly petty things we say (or don't say) as humans can have far ranging and devastating consequences, for better or for worse. (They certainly did here.)

Oh, do I really want the bashing I know I am about to receive? No, but I do think this discussion is crucial to plummeting Morton's message. Maybe I am wrong, but if I am, this book will become a two star rather than a four star one in my rating (to date, I have not given five stars to a new book after a one plus reading).



Peppermill, I agree with you that this discussion is important. But I am not sure I agree with your evaluation of the cause of Robby's death.

What wendyroba says above is that the point of the climax is that this trivial secret (Grace's lack of knowledge of shorthand) becomes the reason for the death of Robby. And it is the reason for Grace feeling guilty for so long.

Much of what you list as causes are definitely causes for tragedy and may have led to death eventually. Deception and failure to honor marraige, hidden guns, alcohol, jealousy... all potential tragedies.

But what made Robby die that night was the presence of Emmeline at the lake. She was the conflict. She had the gun. And Emmeline was there because Grace couldn't read shorthand.

You say in an earlier post, "However, it equally important to recognize that this secret did not cause the outcome. Also, we should consider whether that particular secret is the main source of Grace's sense of guilt or guilty feelings. Another, far more profound secret impacted all the sisters and their subsequent lives. And, perhaps more than one secret, depending how one counts and combines."

We have talked about sooo many secrets! What profound secret are you talking about? One we haven't mentioned?

What DO you think caused the outcome that evening?

I hope my disagreeing is not seen as bashing you.

Ann, bookhunter

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

[ Edited ]

bookhunter wrote:
Bentley,

I am going to try to summarize what you said in a previous post: Hannah was playing The Game and never intended to leave that night with Robbie. By killing Robbie, she was protecting Emmeline, but also, and ultimately, protecting herself and her reputation. (Apologies if I have misrepresented your thoughts in any way.)

You may be right, especially about the importance of The Game in Hannah's mind, but I do think she was planning to leave.

1. Before the party she is acting strangly. On page 453 she is described by Grace as "tense and jumpy" all day. That may be acting the part in The Game, or it may be that she is so caught up in playing The Game that she really is tense, but I see it as anxiety about The PLAN more than The Game.

2. She says things that seem like "goodbyes". What a pretty view out the window. Kisses Grace and tells her Good luck...

3. She gives Grace the locket! This seems a deal-breaker in your theory, to me. Why would she give the locket since we know how important it is to her? Will she ask for it back when the Game is over the next day? I think it is crucial to her appearance of suicide, but also her leaving the old life and moving onto the new.

4. Why the suitcase? If she was planning to not really go, why did she pack a suitcase?

5. Why the letters? That was risky information to reveal if it was just a game.

I think you are right about her playing The Game, but once they came to Riverton and she discovered she was pregnant with Robbie's child, it became real. In the days leading up to the party she is happy and peaceful--that is because of the pregnancy, not because she is planning an elaborate game.

Ultimately, she chose Emmeline over Robbie. But the irony is that she finally DID something, and still lost everything.

What do you think?
Ann, bookhunter




Hello Ann,

There is a passage in the book that shows Hannah as not being terribly engrossed in the plans that Robbie was making. Almost like she was saying well if these plans make you happy go for it.

Hannah, Emmeline and David played very realistic fantasies in The Game and the fact that she gave Grace the locket may have been a way to pay her back for being there with her thoughtout the adventure. I think a large part of Hannah really wanted to leave with Robbie and she went through the motions but left herself a way out with the timing of the letters. I am not the author so what do I know about these things; but if you were really planning to make a get away you would not dilly dally down by the lake "making love". You would hightail it out of the place and get to a safe house or location. So much depends on timing I would think and Hannah was a master of that; having timed all of her secrets to the minute.

Hannah was very strong willed and I think she did a lot of things to a lot of people. I just don't think that she had the gumption to leave the Riverton lifestyle and her place in society to become a fallen woman and somebody's mistress in full view. She loved the excitement of the meeting; but always left just in the nick of time. I believe and (Ann this is just my understanding of this character)..that Hannah in a split second would have realized what she was doing and since I see her as quite calculating already knew that she was going to stay with Teddy. Teddy wanted children and she went through the motions with him knowing most likely that she had "unprotected" encounters with Robbie and there was the chance that she could be pregnant by him; but she didn't care. She had not planned on killing Robbie until unfortunately her plan came apart and Grace unwittingly "ruined everything".

My take is that this was just another fantasy that Hannah was playing and it just turned very bleak and ugly. And isn't it just like the Hartfords or a family like the Luxtons to close rank and protect the members of their core family at the expense of anyone else. I also respect everyone else's opinion who might think that Hannah was actually going to go through leaving Riverton and Teddy. It just is not my take of this character.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 01-16-2008 07:57 AM
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


Peppermill wrote:
Ann -- let me see if I can be cogent. First, you are definitely not bashing me! This is the kind of conversation it would be fun to have by a roaring fire over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

To me this is so obvious, so I don't understand why it isn't to everyone else!!??

1 -- the "big" secret that Grace carried all her life was knowing what happened that night at the lake. We could go on for hours on "why" -- there are lots of interesting possibilities and probabilities. But, for now, let me say that it is the secret for which I suspect Grace was legally culpable, and so remained throughout her life. At least today in this country, I believe a homicide case remains open forever, even if prematurely closed based on wrong information. (Some lawyer on this board can correct if this is incorrect -- but the point is secondary to the simplicity of this being the "big secret", at least in my reading of the story.)

2 -- now, why do I state that the secret about shorthand did not cause Robbie's death? First, I quite agree with everyone who says what happened that night probably would have been entirely different if Grace a) read shorthand or b) Hannah realized she didn't.

But, suppose this case had gone to a court trial. Would any jury have convicted Grace because she had kept a secret about shorthand? (Even in the 1920's as a lady's maid?)








Peppermill, thanks for your reply. I am glad that we can have this back and forth discussion and not feel like it is a "tiff." This is what a book discussion is all about, to me, but it is SO HARD to do online with just a written comment here and there. Very hard to interpret "where its coming from!" For me, please know that any "dis"-agreement on my part is purely for FUN and discussion purposes.

But now I have to confess that I am disappointed. I thought you had some new insight that I didn't see and a different perspective on things that I could argue against. I am sad that we are really in agreement and can't have a big knock-down drag out fight.

I completely agree with you that the BIG secret is that Grace knows How Robbie Died and puts Grace in a position of breaking the law (assuming laws in England at the time were the same as here and now). And you are also correct about ultimately, Hannah fired that gun and Hannah is responsible for Robbie's death.

Each person is responsible for their own actions, and we can definitely say that Hannah killed Robbie. Not Grace, not Emmeline, not Robbie...Hannah. And Grace is the only one alive which knows that truth.

But I think the greater guilt to her is that she somehow betrayed Hannah by not knowing she was to keep Emmeline at the party. She is so wrapped up in Hannah, Hannah, Hannah, that THAT is what breaks her heart for the rest of her life. She FEELS like she brought the incident about and caused Robbie's death, then indirectly, Hannah and Emmeline's. And for us to think about little lies verses big ones--which are worse? They are both deceit.

You know, I am not even sure that I agree with what I just wrote! As I think this through to type it out, surely the guilt of knowing who the real killer was would be worse than having brought them all together? The little start Grace has when she and Ruth see a documentary about war poets, and she glances at Ruth to see if she "knows..." That does seem like "criminal" guilt to me. And now that she is dying they can't put her in jail. She was able to run around England, spend Hannah's money, become a reknowed archeologist, when all the while she should have been in jail for withholding information? Hmmmm.

Ann, bookhunter
who is just going to sit here in the corner and argue with MYSELF for a while! Ignore the talking to myself and wild gesticulations!
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


bentley wrote:
Hello Ann,

There is a passage in the book that shows Hannah as not being terribly engrossed in the plans that Robbie was making. Almost like she was saying well if these plans make you happy go for it.

Hannah, Emmeline and David played very realistic fantasies in The Game and the fact that she gave Grace the locket may have been a way to pay her back for being there with her thoughtout the adventure. I think a large part of Hannah really wanted to leave with Robbie and she went through the motions but left herself a way out with the timing of the letters. I am not the author so what do I know about these things; but if you were really planning to make a get away you would not dilly dally down by the lake "making love". You would hightail it out of the place and get to a safe house or location. So much depends on timing I would think and Hannah was a master of that; having timed all of her secrets to the minute.

Hannah was very strong willed and I think she did a lot of things to a lot of people. I just don't think that she had the gumption to leave the Riverton lifestyle and her place in society to become a fallen woman and somebody's mistress in full view. She loved the excitement of the meeting; but always left just in the nick of time. I believe and (Ann this is just my understanding of this character)..that Hannah in a split second would have realized what she was doing and since I see her as quite calculating already knew that she was going to stay with Teddy. Teddy wanted children and she went through the motions with him knowing most likely that she had "unprotected" encounters with Robbie and there was the chance that she could be pregnant by him; but she didn't care. She had not planned on killing Robbie until unfortunately her plan came apart and Grace unwittingly "ruined everything".

My take is that this was just another fantasy that Hannah was playing and it just turned very bleak and ugly. And isn't it just like the Hartfords or a family like the Luxtons to close rank and protect the members of their core family at the expense of anyone else. I also respect everyone else's opinion who might think that Hannah was actually going to go through leaving Riverton and Teddy. It just is not my take of this character.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 01-16-2008 07:57 AM




Bentley,

PLEASE don't think I am being argumentative. Well, ok, think that I am being argumentative, but it is just for fun! And if you are tired of dragging out this point, that's fine, too. I just enjoy the back-and-forth aspects of discussions.

I think that early on, Hannah does just let Robbie plan the escape for fun, but when she discovered she was pregnant (which is debatable, too, but I think she did) things changed and the Game was stepped up a notch.

And when I read the scene at the lake, I don't think they had "a quickie." I think Hannah was going to the summer house when they interrupt her. She had just opened the door to go in. This is a vague passage about where Hannah actually is, really. The book says she keeps glancing at the summer house, so she is not IN it. But is she coming out or coming in? I think just going in to meet Robbie and leave. Like you said, no dilly-dallying!

Your characterization of Hannah is right-on, to me. She was lots of talk and little action, just floating along with her life. (Did she ever express to Teddy that she was unsastisfied and would like a job of some sort? Or just mope about it herself?) I guess I just think this is the one time she WAS prepared to take action.

BUT. Since I am in the mood to argue with myself, Hannah's comments on page 467 of "You're too late...You're too late" may be evidence that it was a game and that she planned to get caught before she could escape!

Ann, bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


bookhunter wrote:

bentley wrote:
Hello Ann,

There is a passage in the book that shows Hannah as not being terribly engrossed in the plans that Robbie was making. Almost like she was saying well if these plans make you happy go for it.

Hannah, Emmeline and David played very realistic fantasies in The Game and the fact that she gave Grace the locket may have been a way to pay her back for being there with her thoughtout the adventure. I think a large part of Hannah really wanted to leave with Robbie and she went through the motions but left herself a way out with the timing of the letters. I am not the author so what do I know about these things; but if you were really planning to make a get away you would not dilly dally down by the lake "making love". You would hightail it out of the place and get to a safe house or location. So much depends on timing I would think and Hannah was a master of that; having timed all of her secrets to the minute.

Hannah was very strong willed and I think she did a lot of things to a lot of people. I just don't think that she had the gumption to leave the Riverton lifestyle and her place in society to become a fallen woman and somebody's mistress in full view. She loved the excitement of the meeting; but always left just in the nick of time. I believe and (Ann this is just my understanding of this character)..that Hannah in a split second would have realized what she was doing and since I see her as quite calculating already knew that she was going to stay with Teddy. Teddy wanted children and she went through the motions with him knowing most likely that she had "unprotected" encounters with Robbie and there was the chance that she could be pregnant by him; but she didn't care. She had not planned on killing Robbie until unfortunately her plan came apart and Grace unwittingly "ruined everything".

My take is that this was just another fantasy that Hannah was playing and it just turned very bleak and ugly. And isn't it just like the Hartfords or a family like the Luxtons to close rank and protect the members of their core family at the expense of anyone else. I also respect everyone else's opinion who might think that Hannah was actually going to go through leaving Riverton and Teddy. It just is not my take of this character.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 01-16-2008 07:57 AM




Bentley,

PLEASE don't think I am being argumentative. Well, ok, think that I am being argumentative, but it is just for fun! And if you are tired of dragging out this point, that's fine, too. I just enjoy the back-and-forth aspects of discussions.

I think that early on, Hannah does just let Robbie plan the escape for fun, but when she discovered she was pregnant (which is debatable, too, but I think she did) things changed and the Game was stepped up a notch.

And when I read the scene at the lake, I don't think they had "a quickie." I think Hannah was going to the summer house when they interrupt her. She had just opened the door to go in. This is a vague passage about where Hannah actually is, really. The book says she keeps glancing at the summer house, so she is not IN it. But is she coming out or coming in? I think just going in to meet Robbie and leave. Like you said, no dilly-dallying!

Your characterization of Hannah is right-on, to me. She was lots of talk and little action, just floating along with her life. (Did she ever express to Teddy that she was unsastisfied and would like a job of some sort? Or just mope about it herself?) I guess I just think this is the one time she WAS prepared to take action.

BUT. Since I am in the mood to argue with myself, Hannah's comments on page 467 of "You're too late...You're too late" may be evidence that it was a game and that she planned to get caught before she could escape!

Ann, bookhunter


Interesting to read your posts, both of you. Good discussion. And I was wondering just where that one part was Ann,and you said on page 467! That helps me with another thread :smileyhappy:. This is my take on two aspects you are discussing here. I do think Hannah planned to leave with Robbie and I get what you are saying Bentley about this being part of the game. I think she was in such a state of "game induced" shall we say, euphoria, that both things were happening, she was going to leave with him because that was part of the game now. She really feels she is following through with the game and all the things she wanted from it was going to happen. Leaving those letters as part of the game was way too dangerous and I cant see her packing a bag, leaving her beloved locket, making sure she had THE right shoes, getting mad almost at being second guessed about them with Grace and demanding THOSE shoes to just go down there and say goodbye to Robbie. It was all planned but she was still lost in the game too. Maybe along those lines, if she was talking to herself, saying your too late, your too late, maybe she was realizing it was too late to stop the game, Robbie was dead. I will have to go back and read that part again.

Also, nahhh, no way was she down there for a quickie during all this. She may be caught in her game, he may be desperate to keep the one thing, the one person that helps him feel sane, but neither is dumb enough to try that one when they are good at being so sneaky about everything else. She probably knew she was pregnant already and it was part of her euphoria, or if she didnt know, it happened within a short time before that night.
Vivian
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

I still want to know if Teddy being gay was supposed to be a secret. Remember when Hannah said she "realized" something about him. That he was never interested in hers, at least not sexually, when they were first married? Perhaps this is why she turned to Robbie, for sexual satisfaction. Another clue I saw that Teddy might be gay was on p426 when he Hannahl lets us know how excited Teddy was about the Riverton renovation. Was it common for men rather than women at that time to be "enthusiastic...meeting with designers, debating teh merits of one fabric over another, delighting in the acquisition of an exact replica of the King's own hall stand?" In retrospect it seems rather cliche to me.
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


bookhunter wrote:

bentley wrote:
Hello Ann,

There is a passage in the book that shows Hannah as not being terribly engrossed in the plans that Robbie was making. Almost like she was saying well if these plans make you happy go for it.

Hannah, Emmeline and David played very realistic fantasies in The Game and the fact that she gave Grace the locket may have been a way to pay her back for being there with her thoughtout the adventure. I think a large part of Hannah really wanted to leave with Robbie and she went through the motions but left herself a way out with the timing of the letters. I am not the author so what do I know about these things; but if you were really planning to make a get away you would not dilly dally down by the lake "making love". You would hightail it out of the place and get to a safe house or location. So much depends on timing I would think and Hannah was a master of that; having timed all of her secrets to the minute.

Hannah was very strong willed and I think she did a lot of things to a lot of people. I just don't think that she had the gumption to leave the Riverton lifestyle and her place in society to become a fallen woman and somebody's mistress in full view. She loved the excitement of the meeting; but always left just in the nick of time. I believe and (Ann this is just my understanding of this character)..that Hannah in a split second would have realized what she was doing and since I see her as quite calculating already knew that she was going to stay with Teddy. Teddy wanted children and she went through the motions with him knowing most likely that she had "unprotected" encounters with Robbie and there was the chance that she could be pregnant by him; but she didn't care. She had not planned on killing Robbie until unfortunately her plan came apart and Grace unwittingly "ruined everything".

My take is that this was just another fantasy that Hannah was playing and it just turned very bleak and ugly. And isn't it just like the Hartfords or a family like the Luxtons to close rank and protect the members of their core family at the expense of anyone else. I also respect everyone else's opinion who might think that Hannah was actually going to go through leaving Riverton and Teddy. It just is not my take of this character.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 01-16-2008 07:57 AM




Bentley,

PLEASE don't think I am being argumentative. Well, ok, think that I am being argumentative, but it is just for fun! And if you are tired of dragging out this point, that's fine, too. I just enjoy the back-and-forth aspects of discussions.

I think that early on, Hannah does just let Robbie plan the escape for fun, but when she discovered she was pregnant (which is debatable, too, but I think she did) things changed and the Game was stepped up a notch.

And when I read the scene at the lake, I don't think they had "a quickie." I think Hannah was going to the summer house when they interrupt her. She had just opened the door to go in. This is a vague passage about where Hannah actually is, really. The book says she keeps glancing at the summer house, so she is not IN it. But is she coming out or coming in? I think just going in to meet Robbie and leave. Like you said, no dilly-dallying!

Your characterization of Hannah is right-on, to me. She was lots of talk and little action, just floating along with her life. (Did she ever express to Teddy that she was unsastisfied and would like a job of some sort? Or just mope about it herself?) I guess I just think this is the one time she WAS prepared to take action.

BUT. Since I am in the mood to argue with myself, Hannah's comments on page 467 of "You're too late...You're too late" may be evidence that it was a game and that she planned to get caught before she could escape!

Ann, bookhunter




Bookhunter..you are not bothering me in the least. I like discussions as well. I believe like Everyman (I believe it might have been him who mentioned it) that it appeared to him and I have to say to me as well that she became pregnant down at the lake that night. I think the timing was not very clear...maybe the foglike setting that keeps coming into play..was anything clear at that time (even their thinking?).

Hannah was not an inspiring character. What she said about her husband was very true about her. Both of them also tried to break away from family domination and failed. Frankly, they deserved each other.

She never expressed much of anything to Teddy. I think what you pointed out is another example of a clue which indicated that Hannah never really would have the gumption to leave.

Funny after the tragedy she had to say to Grace that she did love him you know (or something like that); more like she was trying to convince herself or others. Probably Deborah and Teddy were glad that Robbie was out of the way. I am not sure what Teddy suspected if anything. Deborah, however, had been scorned and she didn't approve of Hannah's adultery.

I think she loved her stature, Teddy's money and Riverton the house most. But everyone had a different reading experience, and maybe the author had other things in mind.

It is good talking with you.

Bentley
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