We’re on our last week of our discussion, so if you’re just joining us, make sure to take a second and read the first three entries before reading the rest of this one.
How did you like the ending? Were you as surprised about Queenie and her baby as I was? I have to confess that I saw a clip of the show when I was researching on YouTube, so I knew that Queenie was going to have a baby. But I was genuinely shocked when she decided to give her baby to Hortense and Gilbert. I really wished that she and Bernard would be able to raise the baby together and would grow closer together. But it didn’t work out that way. There is an episode of the show Call the Midwife where a white woman delivers a black baby, but her husband pretends not to notice and raises the baby as if it were his own. I hoped that Bernard would do the same, but he didn’t really get that chance. I think he might have since he was willing to comfort the baby near the end of the book, but Queenie didn’t really give him that chance.
I thought the chapters about Bernard were the hardest to read. I just didn’t really enjoy Bernard as a character. I felt like I couldn’t really understand him. He didn’t have a really observable personality. He just seemed to like following the rules. I guess that’s what made it so hard for him to accept that Gilbert and Hortense were living in his house.
Did you feel your heart breaking for Hortense when she went to interview for that teaching job? I felt like I could barely read that section because I was so sad for Hortense. I can’t even imagine how demoralized and belittled she felt when she left that interview. She, like Gilbert, imagined that England would be a magical place, but so many people there treated them like they were inferior. But, that scene ended up being good because it allowed Hortense to be vulnerable and to be receptive to Gilbert. After reading the last chapters with Gilbert and how he worked so hard to be gentle to Hortense and how he defended her in front of the Blighs, I decided that Gilbert was the best character in the book. He was just so good. He was so nice to Hortense, even when she was prickly, and he continued to work hard and look for hope, even when the people in England didn’t seem to care about him.
When I was reading about the book, I discovered that it is required reading for some high schools in England. Does that surprise you? Do you think you would share this book with a high school student? Would you recommend this book to anyone you know?
Did you take the time to watch the miniseries? Did you enjoy it?
Please let me know what you thought of this last section. I am dying to know if you guessed that Queenie was pregnant. And I am really interested to know who your favorite character was!
I hope you’ll join us next month as we read Seabiscuit.