The narration jumps backward in chronological order, to describe Julia’s conversation with Gaspard. Gaspard and Nicolas grew up as Sarah’s brothers, having been told that Sarah’s parents died during the war and she had been adopted by their grandparents, Jules and Geneviève. It was years before they learned the truth about Sarah’s background. Julia asks Gaspard about Sarah’s current whereabouts, but Gaspard insists that he must first know “why this is so important” to Julia.
Gaspard and Nicolas not being told Sarah’s real backstory may be the one example of a secret that does not have damaging consequences in the novel. The novel suggests that Jules and Geneviève’s decision to shield their grandsons from the truth in this regard allowed Sarah the space she needed to begin healing. This chapter also sets up, for the first time, an opportunity for Julia to articulate why she is so invested in Sarah’s story.