Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Much of the novel is concerned with Stevens’ professional and, above all, personal relationship with a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton. The novel begins with Stevens receiving a letter from a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton, describing her married the remains of the day book pdf, which he believes hints at an unhappy marriage.
Stevens’ receipt of the letter coincides with his opportunity to revisit this once-cherished relationship, if only under the guise of investigating the possibility of her re-employment. Ultimately, Stevens is forced to ponder Lord Darlington’s character and reputation, as well as the true nature of his relationship with Miss Kenton. As the book progresses, increasing evidence of Miss Kenton’s and Stevens’ past mutual attraction and affection is revealed. Stevens and Miss Kenton failed to admit their true feelings towards each other. All of their recollected conversations showed a professional friendship which, at times, came close to crossing the line into romance, but never dared to do so.
Stevens in particular never yielded, even when Miss Kenton tried to draw closer to him. When they finally meet again, Mrs Benn, now married for over twenty years, admits to wondering if she made a mistake in marrying, but says she has come to love her husband and is looking forward to the birth of their first grandchild. Stevens later muses over lost opportunities, both with Miss Kenton and regarding his decades of selfless service to Lord Darlington, who may not have been worthy of his unquestioning loyalty. On his motoring trip, Stevens briefly comes into contact with several other characters.