Sorry for going on about this, but I still can't understand why someone would end a book this way. If he really wanted to end it on an ambiguous note, all he had to do was stop at, say, the scene where Sugar's packing her things and she's all like, "Screw him! I saved all that money! I can set myself up somewhere! I'll be fine!" And then she tries to pick up her bags and they're heavy and she starts crying. End it there. Fine.
The problem is that Faber goes and starts a fresh plot twist--kidnapping Sophie whaaaat?--and then just abandons it. I don't know if he thinks that's deep or what. "See! This book is like an interrupted tryst with a prostitute! I don't even know your name! Hope I satisfied your desires and stuff!" WHAT? Okay, look, man: we sat with you for 800+ pages. We deserve better than that. It reminds me of a writing exercise we did in fourth grade--we were supposed to make up stories from pictures in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and one boy, sort of nervous-eager about what must have been the first story he ever wrote, got his protagonist into the basement after a paragraph with aliens possibly waiting outside (or something like that), and finished it up with, "Did he get out or did the aliens get him? YOU DECIDE!" Yeah, no. In fact, Sugar running off with Sophie is such a harebrained plot twist that it wouldn't surprise me if Faber just couldn't think of a way out of it.
Shockingly, I think that no matter what they do to the movie version, it has to be better than this.
(Sister Girl's observation: "The Crimson Petal and the White what? Shouldn't that have been your first clue? He can't even finish the title!")
Here's the weird thing: I absolutely adore the first half or so of the book, and even after things start getting tough for Sugar again, I love the historical detail. It totally puts Black Ribbon to shame like a hundred times over, despite what I tried to do with it. (As opposed to putting BR to shame just a couple of times over, which is what most published books do.) The weird part is that, while I was mulling over this, I suddenly realized how I needed to fix a flailing plot point in chapter four (Why do they go to the chemist's?) that then patches up a much larger point in the whole series. Woot.
(Mmm. Sister Girl just made a fresh chocolate cake.)