What a dreary, sad and dull place the world would be if everybody was as dutiful and obsessed with their (self imposed) obligations as our two protagonists here. I am not saying everybody should just do as they please without consideration for anyone else or the consequences, but how Nurse Langtry and Michael go out of their way to sabotage their chance of possible happiness is really extraordinary. Out of the seven people in ward X four end up dead in the end, what an outcome!
I didn’t think I would like a book as much as I liked this one in spite of eventually hating the main characters. I thought I only liked a book if I could at least somewhat relate to a character, but the more the story went on the more I got enthralled by it and the less I liked Nurse Langtry (see, I can’t even bring myself to call her Honour, that is how distant I feel) and Michael. What a couple of self righteous martyrs!
That being said, the story was told in such a way that I could not put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the blooming romance (if you can call it that) would turn out. I actually started out liking Luce and the way he rattled everybody’s cages, but later on I felt rather satisfied about his fate, I am sorry to say. Especially after what he did to Nurse Pedder. That poor woman let him do what he did and never even noticed that she was – in fact – raped. Bizarre!
The end was a bit odd with Nurse Langtry thinking of and considering Neil again. That guy had a close shave indeed. He can consider himself lucky he didn’t end up with her. Why she tought about going back to him, I have no clue. Good thing she decided against it and instead fulfilled “her duty”, because, you see, nobody does it as well as she does. Neil would have possibly been misled into thinking she actually loved him when in reality their relationship would have been a matter of careful deliberation.
I love Colleen McCullough’s writing style and her love to detail a lot and once more she did not disappoint me.