The rising action that I could see emerging previously has come to a head! There was actually a very dramatic chapter in which there was stone throwing, lots of arguing, and a burned effigy…
There are now two major conflicts in the plot: Hope’s romantic feelings, and Enderby’s. Much of the novel has been concerned with how Edward Hope was torn between the sisters, Hester and Margaret, choosing to marry Hester. Now, with Philip Enderby returned to Deerbrook and setting his allegiances with the Hopes he learns about this initial struggle and misinterprets it.
Now that the drama regarding Mr. Hope’s loss of patients in Deerbrook, and the resulting violence from the rumors spread by Mrs. Rowland, has more or less resolved to become just social drama again the romantic plotline is front and center.
I think that the inclusion of the violence of the town was a good diversion to up the stakes in the Hope-Enderby-Margaret plot. It was also a surprising amount of drama from this sort of book. I’m not really used to something so strong occurring (except of course in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and to have an actual mob on the Hopes’ lawn was a shock to them and to me.
With Philip Enderby questioning his love for Margaret following the reveal of Hope’s feelings, I find myself liking his character less. Hope cannot act on those feelings, and he reassures Philip that they were not reciprocated, but Enderby still seems liable to call off his engagement. This would only please his sister, Mrs. Rowland, and the drama in this book has gotten so high that I want nothing more than for her to be knocked down a few pegs.
I always find it a good sign when you get sucked into the drama the characters face. For a book that started so slowly I put it down for a year, I’ve been able to make good progress now and I think that the Hope-Rowland conflict is largely the most engaging plot to bring in readers. This book is certainly redeeming itself in my eyes!