Week three has come to an end and we only have one more week ’til the grand finale! Let’s begin by discussing Frederick, shall we?
The great and wondrous long, lost (criminal) brother has returned to England and his mother’s bedside. If Frederick is found by the wrong peeps, straight to jail and certain death he goes. In the meantime, his family reunion initially pissed me off. Within mere moments of seeing Margaret after 8 years, he criticizes her for being clumsy. She’s trying to bring him refreshments and the only thing he can do is make her feel even more awkward and silly? I wanted to strangle him. Then Ma Hale dies and it gets worse. The whole house breaks down with Pa Hale and Frederick bawling non-stop and being no help whatsoever to Mags. They all inform her that she is the strong one and must take care of everything – all the funeral arrangements because they can’t handle their sorrow. I almost stopped reading.
Her family is nuts.
Anyway, eventually Frederick gets over himself and gives Mags a rest. Thank God. And I started to like him a bit better. Perhaps he was just boat-lagged or something? Then he kills the man who knows his identity by accidentally/intentionally pushing him off the train depot’s ledge. I liked him even more despite the fact that murder wasn’t his intention. And Mags lies to the Police! Go Mags! But Mr. Thornton saves her from having to deal with the Police further – ah, love! Oh, and Mags sends Frederick to see her jilted Mr. Lennox to see about solving his mutiny problems. I should probably say something smart about Frederick’s mutiny mimicing the recent uprising and labor strike in Milton, but my head hurts.
And what about Mr. Thornton? What’s he been up to? Not much. He attends Ma Hale’s funeral, but Mags doesn’t even know it! It’s that perfect rom-com moment where they just miss each other – except that it’s at a funeral. Thornton then spies her with her brother in the bushes? Am I wrong about the bushes part because that was saucy? He suspects she’s with a lover and gets all jealous. Doesn’t he? Sometimes I interpret the situation in my own way.
Boucher the douche is dead! He’s committed suicide by drowning in a couple of inches of dirty water. Lovely way to go, Boucher. Mr. Higgins, who I’ve come to admire, has decided to help Boucher’s widow and children and take care of them in the wake of Boucher’s untimely demise. Boucher couldn’t handle the pressure of being King Douche and trying to play both sides – support the Union, deny the Union. Side note: the description of his dead body was disturbing as was Mags putting her handkerchief over his bloated face.
What else, what else? I enjoyed the discussion between the Hales and Mr. Higgins when he explains to them he wants to go South and find work. The idea that the South could possibly have just as many hardships for non-Southerners as the North does for non-Northerners was insightful for Mags. I believe this is a breakthrough in her prejudice. I see her walls crumbling. She also craved attention from Mr. Thornton and missed him just a smidge – all progress.
So, despite lots of things happening this section still felt peculiarly devoid of major progress. I’m looking forward to the finale 30% of the novel and seeing where our characters end up. I’m liking Mags a bit more now and hope everything comes together for her. And for Mr. Higgins too! He’s got a big discussion with Mr. Thornton coming up that will probably be a MAJOR deal for our plot progression. Can’t wait!
Edit: I didn’t finish reading the section! And I didn’t realize it until now! I only read through Chapter 37, not 39. Dammit.