In this, the third, novel (and thankfully not the last!) of the series, Elena and Lila are growing up, more so than they have in the past. Both become mothers and lead very different lives that causes the tension in their friendship to grow even more.
The book is also filled with the ideals of revolution as both girls play their part in enacting change for those who are suffering. Ferrante eloquently places her readers in the context of Naples during this time and she does it so seamlessly. 1950s and 60s Naples is very real in this text and adds to further develop the characters of Elena and Lila.
Elena is married and becomes a mother over the course of the book. She lives in Florence with her academic husband and yet, she is unhappy. She is bored with her husband and feels uninspired to write. Motherhood is difficult for her to accept and she feels her mother's shadow creeping into her own life. And even though Lila lives a harder life, unmarried and mothering her son on her own with help from her live-in boyfriend, Enzo, Elena is again jealous of her friend. And the jealousy only grows as Lila's fortune changes for the better. Not to mention, the reappearance of Nino Sarratore leads to more conflict and drama.
It is impossible not to become engrossed in the lives of Ferrante's characters. I became so invested reading this novel, more so than the last two although all of them are amazing tales, that when the ending came I was angry and you'll see why when you read it.
I'm so glad that there will be one more Neapolitan novel but I can't believe we have to wait a year for it to come out!