Set during the Great Depression, Eliza and Alex belong two completely different people.
She had been desperate to make ends meet since the age of 12, he was the most eligible bachelor of New York City.
She stopped believing in love when her father left her mother. His faith in love got stronger when he lost his mother.
She has hated people like him since she was 12; he fell in love with her the first time he saw her.
Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Eliza was 12 years old. She was not a child anymore, yet she still did not understand. What had happened? She had never seen anyone more in love than her parents. So why did her father leave them, especially when they needed him more than ever? He was supposed to keep them together.
For Eliza, it was like a slap in the face, but her mother, Lily acted like nothing had happened. Like it was everyday that the man you love walks out on you. Eliza knew why she acted that way. It was because she wanted to be strong for Eliza. It was because she wanted her daughter to know that everything would be alright. But Eliza just wanted to tell her mother that it was ok. She did not have to act like that; not around Eliza.
Even at 12 years old, a part of her wished that her mother would cry and let it all out just so she could hug her and tell her that everything is ok, just so she would know that she was not alone. But she knew better than to do that. Because hearing her 12 year old daughter talking like that, would have shattered the illusion that she had been so unsuccessfully trying to create – that everything was perfectly fine.
Richard Pierce had lost his job a couple of months ago. He was not the only one, a lot of people had been laid off. When Eliza had asked her mother WHY, she just told the little girl that it was just bad luck.
They now only lived off of her mother’s salary, which was not nearly enough. She could see that her father did not like it that HE was not the one to put food on the table. He felt so defeated that he even stopped looking for jobs. He just could not find any. He felt useless, and watching her parents like that, Eliza felt useless.
Then one day, her father had gone out, and never came back. He just stopped trying.
Lily Pierce did not know how to explain to her 12 year old daughter why she could not go to school anymore, but instead had to help her mother to make ends meet, why she now had to live in a small crowded apartment shared by three other families, instead of her own home; and she certainly could not explain to her why her father had left them, when he had loved them so much.
However, Eliza understood. At 12 years old she was all grown up. She knew not to ask her mother why she had to work instead of going to school. She understood to stop asking her mother when her father was coming home. She understood why they had to leave their home to live in an atrocious apartment. She understood that it was more than just bad luck.
These were bad times; and she needed to be strong for herself and her mother. Besides, did it really matter if her father was here or not? They did not need him; because love, love was nothing.