When Lotty proposes they rent an Italian castle for a month, Rose thinks it’s a foolish idea “not worth thinking about,” an expense and an inconvenience they cannot bear, but then changes her mind in the light of her husband’s obvious disinterest and the wide divide between them. She still rationalizes as they go to rent the place that it’s a lot of money, better spent on the poor, but then decides to go for it. She doesn’t understand Lotty’s flippant nature, nor her sudden decision to invite her husband, but it gets her to thinking that maybe she could repair their marriage if she invited hers. She argues against it for days, but finally sends the invitation. Rose takes things somewhat at face value; she does not see that the owner of the house has become romantically interested in her, and does not assume he considers her to be a war widow based on a brief conversation they had. She has spent all her life doing what she “should” do, taking care of her husband and kids, and in keeping her emotions hidden from her husband. When pondering their lives together, she broods and muses inwardly, not sharing her feelings with other people but pondering, asking questions, wondering if she dares hope to reconcile with him. He arrives, and she is much warmer than she ever was in London, welcoming him with kisses and affection, which allows their marriage to recover.

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Rose believes in doing the right thing. She objects to her husband’s novels because in her mind, he should not write dirty stories. She argues that if God cannot read them, no one ought to write them. Rather than attend his book launch, she stays home. Her disapproval of his choice in fiction drives a wedge between them. She admits while on the island that she was colder at home, more disapproving, and that being in nature and having a holiday has let her refresh her heart and spirit, think about what she has done wrong, and decide to accept her husband for who he is. “Sin never dies,” she says early on, and she wonders if going to a villa is sinful because it is all about self-indulgence rather than spending that money on the poor. Rose’s warmer, 2ish nature shows more in Italy, where she smooths over conflict, does nice things for other people (fills tea pots and gives them the best rooms), and opens herself up to expressing love without self-restraint.