I will be finishing the book tonight, then move on to a good one (I hope).
You know how I complained about not being interested in the wartime romance earlier in the book? Well, we're back to that part of the story.
And as if Morton heard me say "Do we really need this?", she now included a response to my question:
Meredith, Edie's mom, who is 13 or 14 in this part of the story, has - hold on to your hats - written a book. However, she's not happy with the result because
"Her characters spoke too much and felt too little and didn't seem to know what they wanted from life."
Yes, I laughed at this because that perfectly describes The Distant Hours.
So, this is where Morton adds the romance subplot in the guise of Meredith's editing her own work:
"Most importantly, there was something vital missing - an aspect of the heroine's existence, that she suddenly understood must be fleshed out. What a wonder she hadn't realized it before!
Love, of course. That's what her story needed. For it was love, wasn't it - the glorious lurching of a spring-loaded heart - that made the world go round?"
So at around 500 pages into the book Morton, just like Edie, fleshes out one of the main subplots as an afterthought. And it is a major subplot because the whole mystery of why Tom disappeared and Juniper went mad seems to be built on the love story. Tho, I still hope that this is a red herring and that Tom just walked out because he could not be bothered with all the drama.