Julia arrives home and realizes that she has been nauseated for the past couple days. She takes a pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant. She is overwhelmed, reflecting on her past miscarriages and the pressure she feels from her in-laws to continue the Tézac family name. Eventually, though, she is overcome with joy. She books a babysitter for Zoë and makes a reservation at her favorite restaurant.
Julia’s pregnancy is a major plot point and plays a key role in the evolution of her relationship with Bertrand. This chapter also elucidates some of the tension Julia feels from her in-laws, who have high (though perhaps laughably old-fashioned) expectations for her to produce a male heir.
When Zoë gets home from school, Julia wraps her in a hug. Zoë remarks that she is glad to see her mom in good spirits, saying, “You’ve been weird lately […] because of those kids,” referring to the Vel’ d’Hiv’ children. Zoë asks if Julia plans to “find out” about the children, worrying that “Papa won’t like it.” Julia assures Zoë that Bertrand won’t mind, and she thinks with pleasure that her husband will be happy when he finds out she is pregnant.
This conversation demonstrates the close bond that Julia has with her daughter. It also implies that there are serious issues with Julia’s marriage, given that her eleven-year-old daughter is uneasy about Julia’s refusal to discuss her research with her own husband.