I’ve finished the first book in the Parade’s End tetralogy .

It’s taken what feels like forever, and I know that I am nowhere near my ultimate finish line, but I am a few steps further forward. It feels good to finish something, even if it is only part one of four. And I can honestly say I am still confused.

A Still from Parade's End

What I can gather so far is that Sylvia Tietjens, pictured, is unhappy with her husband; because he’s too boring? So after running off with another man decides to torment her husband in other ways.

Meanwhile Christopher, the husband, has found another woman upon which he can lavish his affections. Only he doesn’t, but does… she, Valentine Wannop, understands his silent communications of affection. Yet no one else really does. See why I’m confused?

Teitjens won’t leave his wife, as he sees it as his duty to stand by her. Even when she is ruining his good reputation. Although he manages that himself with his observations on the French, and other warring countries; and then hands his best friend a knighthood on a plate, not caring that his friend is going to stop being his friend.

If anything it displays a thoroughly dysfunctional and unhappy marriage.

Anyhow, one of my favourite bits is the end…

“I won’t watch you out of sight… It is unlucky to watch anyone out of your sight… But I will never… I will never cut what you said then out of my memory…” She was gone; the door shut. He had wondered what she would never cut out of her memory.

Page 309, Parade’s End,
BBC  Books 2012.

It so completely explains the current relationship between Valentine and Christopher. They both have feelings for each other, and both try and convey them without upsetting Sylvia or anyone else. And while trying to preserve Valentine’s reputation. Yet there are times when they are so far from being on the same page that even the characters are confused, never mind the readers.

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