Chapters 55-56 Summary

Now that she knows that Sarah Starzynski left Paris fifty years ago and went to the United States, Julia feels compelled to follow her there. She is anxious to see Zoë and to search for Richard J. Rainsferd. She is not sure if Bertrand ever talked to his father about the file; he has been cordial and aloof and impatient for her to leave. Several hours before leaving for New York, Julie calls her father-in-law to say good-bye. Neither of them mentions Bertrand. Edouard wants to know why Sarah stopped writing to Jules and Geneviève, and she tells him that is exactly what she hopes to discover. As she boards the plane, Julia again asks herself the question: is Sarah Starzynski still alive?

When Charla meets Julia at the airport, she sees immediately that her sister is worried about something more than the baby she has decided to keep or her marital difficulties. On their drive into the city, Charla is constantly on the phone; however, Julia does not care and is happy just to be sitting next to her. Once they arrive at her sister’s apartment, Julia tells her everything. Charla knows little about France, and she is horrified as the monstrous story of Occupation and deportation unfolds. Julia goes right to the end of the story, explaining the card Sarah sent from New York City in 1955.

Now Charla understands why her sister is here and asks how she is planning to start her search. When she realizes there is a name, Charla immediately calls the operator and begins asking for a Richard J. Rainsferd, first in New York State, then New Jersey, and then Connecticut. She gets a number and address in Roxbury, Connecticut from the operator. Julia is incredulous to think her search might be this easy. She might have located Sarah before she even talked to her daughter.

Before Julia can collect her thoughts, Charla is on the Internet looking up Roxbury and then dialing the number the operator gave her. She changes her voice, posing as a librarian from the city library who wants to talk to invite Mrs. Rainsferd to an upcoming activity. After she hangs up, Charla flashes her sister a self-satisfied smile. The woman on the phone was Richard Rainsferd’s nurse. He is a sick, old man who is bedridden and needs heavy treatment. This nurse comes in every afternoon to help. Impatient, Julia asks about Mrs. Rainsferd. Charla says his wife is due back at the house any minute.

Julia gives her sister a blank stare and asks what she is supposed to do next, just go there? Laughing, Charla asks if she has a better idea.