Part 13, Chapters 1-4 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 537

Iris returns to narrating her memoir. She references the beginning of World War II in 1939. At this time, she states, her marriage to Richard was already in trouble. She had suffered through two miscarriages since the birth of Aimee. Richard had affairs with several other women. Winifred later blamed Iris for Richard’s infidelities, stating that he acted thus because Iris’s health was so frail. Although he was unfaithful, Richard had no intention of divorcing Iris, however, because marriage provided him an image of stability in the business and political realm. This gave Iris what she refers to as a certain amount of power. She could pretend she did not know about his mistresses and thus retain the safety that his home and money provided her and her daughter.

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In terms of business, the war provided Richard with nothing but trouble. Much of his business had been with the Germans, who suddenly became the enemy. Because of this, Richard’s business lost a lot of money. The household budget shrunk. Food was rationed and there were no more lavish house parties, voyages on luxury ocean liners, or fancy clothes.

A week after the war ended, Iris received a phone call from Laura. Iris had not heard from her sister in years. When they met for lunch, Laura told her story. She had lived at the old family home for a while, despite the fact that the house had been locked up and closed for years. After she turned twenty-one, Laura had access to the money their father had left her, and she went to Halifax. Laura had written letters to Iris but guessed that Richard and Winifred had kept them from her sister. Iris told her that she never received them. Laura then confessed that she was pregnant when Richard and Winifred sent her to the clinic. They were afraid that her pregnancy would cause a scandal. They forced Laura to have an abortion.

Iris assumed the father must have been Alex Thomas,...

(The entire section contains 537 words.)

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